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DiNapoli: State tax collections above forecast through August

by jmaloni

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Tue, Sep 24th 2013 07:00 am

State coffers bolstered by $550 million in unexpected revenue

Tax revenues for the first five months of the state fiscal year were $69.8 million more than updated budget projections, according to the August cash report released by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Year-to-date tax collections are up 10.3 percent from the same period last year, largely due to strong personal income tax collections in April. August state tax collections fell 5.1 percent from 2012, primarily because of fewer collection days than last August.

"We've seen robust collections in April followed by continuing strength in sales tax receipts, and nearly $550 million in unexpected miscellaneous revenues," DiNapoli said. "Our largest in-state source of revenue, income tax withholding, is growing. However, the growth is slightly below updated projections for year-end. Much of the good news so far this year comes from one-time windfalls."

All funds tax collections increased to $27.3 billion through the first five months of state fiscal year 2013-14. PIT collections so far this year are up 13.5 percent with more than 90 percent of the growth from estimated tax collections in April. Withholding collections, taxes that are paid directly from paychecks and the state's second largest revenue source after federal receipts, increased 3.2 percent through August.

Miscellaneous receipts totaled $9.1 billion through Aug. 31, $381.1 million higher than collections during the same period last year, but $215.3 million below projections. Year to date miscellaneous receipts include a non-recurring $250 million settlement from Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ, a $250 million transfer from the State Insurance Fund and $448 million from Native American casinos. Federal receipts increased 13.4 percent, primarily due to disaster assistance spending.

The general fund closing balance of $3.6 billion at the end of August was $71 million higher than projections from the first quarterly update of the financial plan released Aug. 2. This reflects $1.8 million in lower than anticipated receipts, and $72.8 million in lower than anticipated spending.

Other findings from the August cash report include:

•All funds receipts of $54.6 billion through Aug. 31 were 10.3 percent, or $5.1 billion, higher than receipts from the same period last year. All funds tax collections of $27.3 billion also increased by 10.3 percent, or $2.6 billion, from last year, which was $69.8 million higher than the first quarterly update projections, and $76.8 million higher than initial projections.

•All funds tax receipts during August of $3.8 billion were 5.1 percent below the year-ago figure. In 2012, August included five Wednesdays, a common payday when withholding taxes are collected; August 2013 included the more common four Wednesdays.

•All funds PIT collections through Aug. 31 were up $2.1 billion, or 13.5 percent, from last year, which was $40 million higher than current projections and $4 million lower than initial projections.

•All funds business tax collections through August were up $169.2 million, or 7.9 percent, which was $19.8 million higher than current projections and $70.2 million lower than initial projections.

•All funds consumption taxes increased by $292.6 million through the first five months, or 5 percent, which was $15.7 million higher than the latest projections and $133.7 million higher than initial projections.

•Other taxes increased $12.8 million, or 1 percent, and were $5.7 million lower than the latest projections, but $17.3 million higher than enacted budget projections through August.

•Federal receipts through Aug. 31 were up $2.1 billion, or 13.4 percent, in part because of an increase in payments for disaster assistance. Federal receipts exceeded current projections by $181 million, largely because of reimbursement for capital spending as well as spending from special revenue funds. Federal receipts through August were $266 million lower than initial projections.

•All governmental funds spending increased 8.7 percent, or $4.1 billion, through August, compared to last year, primarily due to local assistance payments. Much of the increase is due to Medicaid (up $837.4 million), and to disaster assistance within public safety (up $787.2 million). Local assistance payments through August were $378.3 million higher than the latest projections and $607.7 million lower than initial projections.

•Departmental operations through Aug. 31 increased $575.5 million, or 7.7 percent, and were $48.6 million lower than the latest projections and $36.6 million lower than initial projections.

•General state charges increased $777.6 million, or 34.7 percent, primarily because payments for the state's share of pension costs are now made monthly, rather than in a single payment as previously. General state charges were $83.2 million higher than the latest projections and $165.2 million higher than initial projections.

•Debt service declined $259.1 million, largely due to timing of payments, and was $5.2 million lower than the latest projections, and $11.2 million lower than initial projections through August. Capital spending increased $152.8 million and was $46 million higher than the latest projections and $153 million lower than initial projections.

•General fund receipts (including transfers from other funds) of $24.8 billion through the first five months were 11.2 percent, or $2.5 billion, higher than receipts from the same period last year. General fund receipts were $1.8 million lower than the latest projections and $239.2 million higher than initial projections.

•General fund spending through August (including transfers to other funds) of $22.8 billion increased 1 percent, or $221.3 million, from the same period last year, which was $72.8 million lower than the latest projections and $430.8 million lower than initial projections. Local assistance increased just $1.5 million. General state charges increased $350.2 million from last year primarily because of the new system of monthly pension payments as described above. Departmental operations spending declined $314.5 million, or 9.2 percent, compared to the same period last year.

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.

DiNapoli's office issues the monthly cash report as part of its statutory duties and provides it to the public as part of the comptroller's efforts to increase transparency and accountability for state finances.

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