State Budget and Taxes

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.

Setting the Record Straight about PA School Funding Cuts

I wrote a letter to the editor in the Patriot-News and PennLive.com setting the record straight about funding cuts to Pennsylvania schools in recent years. Take a look:

Research is clear that student performance improves with smaller class sizes, rigorous programs, and qualified teachers. Yet since 2011 Pennsylvania has done the opposite, enacting cuts that have increased class sizes, eliminated enrichment programs, and taken tens of thousands of teachers, guidance counselors, and aides out of the classroom.

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.

Fund PA Transportation Projects with Mix of Cash and Debt Financing

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center put out the following press release Tuesday on testimony I delivered to the Pennsylvania House Finance Committee on transportation funding:

Pennsylvania could significantly increase its long-term investment in roads, bridges, and public transit with a mix of cash and debt financing, testified Sharon Ward, Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, before a state House committee today.

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:

What’s At Stake for Schools in Property Tax Plan?

The latest proposal to eliminate property taxes in Pennsylvania would leave school districts with $2.6 billion less in overall funding within five years, according to an analysis from the Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office. Matthew Knittel of the IFO presented the findings during a Pennsylvania Senate Finance Committee hearing Tuesday.

A Call for an Education Funding Formula in PA

Sharon Ward of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center joined state policy and budget experts this week for a symposium on school funding in Pennsylvania.

State General Fund Collections on Target Through First Quarter of 2013-14

General Fund collections in September exceeded revenue targets by $15 million, creating a very modest fiscal-year-to-date surplus of $13 million, 0.2% over estimate.

Collections in September are important to monitor as it is the first month of the fiscal year in which significant collections of quarterly personal income and corporate net income taxes are made. So far, so good, as corporate taxes came in $8 million below estimate for the month, while personal income tax collections exceeded estimate by $8 million.

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