Tax receipts for State Fiscal Year 2018-19 declined $3.7 billion, or 4.7 percent, from the previous year to $75.6 billion, according to the year-end state cash report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The state ended its fiscal year on March 31 with a General Fund balance of $7.2 billion, higher than recent projections but a decline of $2.2 billion from the prior fiscal year.
For the month of March, tax receipts were $811.7 million above the latest Division of the Budget (DOB) projections, released in February 2019.
“After months of concern over lower-than-expected tax collections, the state ended the fiscal year on a positive note,” DiNapoli said. “The sharp revenue declines in December and January, however, remind us to take nothing for granted. With expectations of a slowing economy and ongoing concerns regarding federal fiscal policies, a strong commitment to building robust reserves in preparation for the next economic slump is essential.”
All Funds tax receipts in December and January were a combined $3.2 billion below the earlier projections, primarily due to personal income taxes. With stronger-than-expected receipts in March, tax collections ended the fiscal year $601.4 million higher than DOB’s February projections, but more than $2.3 billion lower than initially anticipated, with almost all of the variance in personal income tax.
Personal income tax receipts for the year totaled $48.1 billion, a decline of $3.4 billion, or 6.6 percent, from 2017-18, primarily due to a decrease in estimated payments. Consumption and use taxes rose to $17.4 billion, up $645 million, or 3.9 percent, from the previous year. Business tax receipts were $7.9 billion, an increase of 10.4 percent. Miscellaneous Receipts totaled $31.2 billion, $3.2 billion more than initially planned, in part because of unanticipated monetary settlements of more than $1 billion. All Funds receipts for the year totaled $168.1 billion, including $61.3 billion in federal funds.
All Funds spending rose 4.4 percent to $170.9 billion, but was $856 million lower than DOB’s latest estimate. The difference was primarily due to lower-than-anticipated spending for capital and departmental operations, offset by higher-than-anticipated spending for debt service, including prepayments made at the end of the fiscal year that totaled nearly $1.5 billion according to DOB. Local assistance expenditures were $127.4 billion, up 4.5 percent, while spending on departmental operations increased 1.1 percent compared to SFY 2017-18.
The $7.2 billion General Fund balance at the end of March was $1.7 billion higher than initially anticipated and $660.7 million higher than DOB’s latest projection from February. A deposit of $250 million was made to the Rainy Day Reserve Fund, bringing the combined total in the state’s statutory rainy day reserves (including the Tax Stabilization Reserve Fund) to $2 billion.
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