Posts by michael wood

Houston, We Have a (Revenue) Problem

Pennsylvania General Fund revenue collections fell short of estimate, for practical purposes, by more than $100 million in what is usually the largest month of collections for the year. March receipts typically get a boost from a swell in corporate tax payments, but lower-than-expected bank tax collections this March brought corporate tax revenues in well below estimate. Sales tax collections also missed the mark for the fifth straight month.

Map: Small Number of PA School Districts Have High Property Taxes

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Property taxes have been a subject of much debate in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, proposals currently before the General Assembly, including bills to eliminate school property taxes and raise state sales and income levies, do not address the primary issue — that too few state dollars are used to support public schools in the commonwealth. All property owners would be helped if Pennsylvania increased the amount of state funding provided to public schools.

February Revenues Fall Short But March Will Be Bigger Month

Pennsylvania General Fund collections for nearly every major tax type fell short of estimate in February. Shortfalls in the collection of sales, personal income, and realty transfer taxes may be partly attributable to the excessive amount of inclement weather in February, but the bulk of the month's deficit is due to expectations of strong growth for 2014 falling short. This is the third consecutive month in which revenues have fallen short of targets.

Who's Right About Revenue Growth?

The Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) and Corbett administration are at odds over how much Pennsylvania will collect in taxes and other revenue for the remainder of 2013-14 and all of the 2014-15 fiscal year — to the tune of roughly $375 million. That's a little over 1% of what is expected to be spent in 2014-15.

Small Revenue Shortfall Predicted for 2013-14 But No Need to Panic — Yet

Pennsylvania is staring at a likely revenue shortfall of more than $100 million come June when the current fiscal year draws to a close, according to the latest revenue estimates from the Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office (IFO). A slow-growing economy has dampened tax and other collections during the first half of the 2013-14 fiscal year, and IFO analysts think the trend will continue in the months ahead.

State Revenue Collections Still on Track, but Revenue Surplus Is Now Gone

Halfway through the state's fiscal year, General Fund revenues are right on target — exceeding official estimates by a scant $2 million, or 0.02%. Tax and other collections in December came in $40 million, or 1.7%, below the monthly target, largely erasing the modest revenue surplus that had been generated so far.

One month of poorer-than-expected collections should not raise too many alarms, but we will be watching January closely. Another sub-par month of collections could mean trouble as the 2014-15 budget negotiations get under way early next month.

Mid-Year Budget Update - 2013-14 on Track but Prepare for a Rough 2014-15 Budget

This morning, Pennsylvania Budget Secretary Charles Zogby gave the Corbett Administration's take on the 2013-14 state budget at mid-year.

Business Tax Cuts Slow PA Revenue Growth Creating Future Budget Gaps

The Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) released its five-year economic and budget outlook on Thursday, and the picture is not pretty.

Corporate Tax Cuts Slowing Year-Over-Year Revenue Growth

The good news first: October General Fund collections exceeded the monthly estimate by $29 million, or 1.4%. For the fiscal year-to-date, the General Fund has a modest revenue surplus of $42 million, or 0.5%.

Much of October's surplus, $20 million of the $29 million, came from corporate tax collections, which fell slightly short of revenue targets in the previous month. Personal income and sales tax receipts also met October targets.

'One-Size-Fits-All' Business Tax Rankings Don't Have PA's Best Interests in Mind

We often see in the news state rankings of business climate that vary widely depending on who is doing the ranking. As Billy Hamilton writes in Monday's State Tax Notes (subscription required), these rankings often have much more to do with the low and no tax preferences of the list writers, like the Tax Foundation, than taking a real look at what's happening in the states: