In what could be a sign of economic recovery, state tax collections are running ahead of expectations. State tax receipts over the past six months are six percent ahead of the same period a year ago. Jeff Robinson of the Legislative Services Agency says that is “obviously good news” as both wages and consumer spending appear to be on the upswing.
“February 2010 was one of our worst months last year and this February was just 1.6 percent net above last year, so that doesn’t look on its face like particularly good news,” Robinson says. “But personal income was up 5.6 percent gross this year over last February and sales and use tax was up 4.1%, so not bad news there.”
The state has collected more than $217-million more in taxes from August through February compared to the same six-month period a year ago. Over the past six months, personal income tax payments to the state have climbed nearly 6.5%. “I think things continue to look better than expected and so these are good numbers, particularly from what we got used to there for 18 months,” Robinson says.
A three-member panel of financial experts will meet soon to set a new estimate of state tax collections. That revised estimate will be used by legislators to build next year’s state spending outline.