Monday, January 16, 2012

DiNapoli: State Tax Collections Trail Projections Through First Three Quarters

Tax collections through the first three quarters of the 2011-12 fiscal year were $230.7 million below the most recent estimates, according to the December 2011 cash report released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
“It’s important to recognize that even though tax receipts are up from the previous year, economic growth remains sluggish and the economy fragile,” DiNapoli said. “We must continue to monitor spending and revenue closely for the remainder of this fiscal year to ensure we stay in balance. The tax code actions taken to address the deficit are expected to help both this year and next.”
Year-to-date tax collections grew 8.6 percent in 2011 from 2010. However, this growth was achieved largely in collections from April and has slowed substantially in recent months. For December, tax collections were $188.4 million, or 2.7 percent lower than last year, and $159 million below mid-year projections and $527 million below April projections.
Other findings from the December Cash Report include:

  • General Fund receipts (including transfers from other funds) of $39.2 billion through the first three quarters of SFY 2011-12 were 2.7 percent, or $1 billion, higher than the same period last year.
  • General Fund tax collections totaled $28.7 billion, an increase of $284.8 million, or 1 percent, from last year for the same period, although it is important to note that growth is artificially low due to the timing of STAR payments, which are deducted from Personal Income Tax (PIT) receipts. Tax collections were $100.8 million lower than mid-year projections primarily due to lower PIT collections.
  • General Fund PIT collections through December 31 totaled $17.3 billion and declined 1.3 percent, or $219.3 million, from last year. The decline is primarily due to STAR payments that were disbursed from PIT receipts in December 2011, but in the previous year were held until January. In addition, year-over-year growth also reflects two fewer collection days in December. Year-to-date PIT collections were $112.1 million lower than mid-year projections. PIT collections do not yet reflect changes enacted in December’s extraordinary session.
  • Withholding collections grew 2.4 percent through the first nine months, compared to the same period last year. Largely due to collections from April 2011 reflecting tax settlements from 2010, year-to-date estimated payments grew 25.4 percent, or $1.8 billion. Year-to-date PIT refunds were $747.7 million lower than last year primarily because $500 million in refunds were moved from the final quarter of SFY 2009-10 into the first quarter of SFY 2010-11 for cash flow relief, thereby artificially increasing refunds last year. General Fund consumption and use taxes increased 3.6 percent from last year to $6.8 billion, which were $45.5 million greater than Mid-Year projections. General Fund sales tax collections grew 3.9 percent through Dec. 31, compared to the same period last year.
  • General Fund business tax collections totaled $3.7 billion through the first nine months of SFY 2011-12, which was $293.3 million more than the same period a year earlier, but $54.2 million less than mid-year projections.
  • General Fund spending (including transfers to other funds) of $38.3 billion increased 2.1 percent, or $784.4 million, from the same period last year. General Fund spending was $342.2 million below mid-year projections, primarily due to lower local assistance payments ($277.5 million) as well as lower general state charges ($168.8 million).
  • General Fund local assistance spending increased $868.8 million, or 3.5 percent, from the prior year, primarily reflecting $2.7 billion in higher spending for Medicaid due to the June 30 end of federal stimulus funding. Education spending declined $1.8 billion, because of a non-recurring increase of spending in the first quarter of SFY 2010-11. General state charges from the General Fund grew $208.8 million from last year and departmental operations declined $285.4 million compared to last year.
  • All Funds receipts of $96.3 billion were 0.2 percent, or $160.3 million, higher than last year, primarily because of PIT collections, which increased $2.9 billion, or 11.8 percent. However, the growth in PIT receipts was offset by $3.6 billion in lower federal receipts from the same period last year, although they were $1.4 billion higher than projected through Dec. 31. All Funds receipts were $796.1 million higher than mid-year projections, primarily because of federal receipts.
  • All Funds tax collections of $45.9 billion increased by 8.6 percent, or $3.6 billion, from last year, primarily from PIT collections (up $2.9 billion). Consumption and use taxes grew $349.8 million, or 3.3 percent. Business taxes grew $344.8 million and other taxes grew $63.3 million. All Funds tax collections were $230.7 million less than mid-year projections.
The state’s finances are generally broken down by two main categories: General Fund and All Funds. The General Fund is the major operating fund of the state and accounts for all receipts that are not required by law to be deposited into another fund. All Governmental Funds includes General, Special Revenue, Debt Service and Capital Projects funds, as well as funds from the federal government.
The December Cash Report can be found at 

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