Pa. finished March ahead of projections for tax collections, Revenue Dept. says

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    Nothing makes budget season go more smoothly like a bit of cash in the bank. And new tax collection figures for March offer some encouraging signs.

    Taxpayers pumped $4.6 billion into the state’s coffers in March, which was $76.1 million, or 1.7 percent ahead of projections, the state Department of Revenue said Monday. Fiscal year to date, the state has taken in $24.7 billion in tax collections, which was $363.6 million, or 1.5 percent ahead of expectations, the Revenue Department said.

    And since the start of fiscal 2018-19, overall tax revenue is $1.2 billion or 5.2 percent more than was collected during the same time period during the 2017-18 fiscal year, the agency said in a statement.

    Here’s how that breaks down:

    Income tax: The state took $1.1 billion in personal income tax collections in March, which was $3.1 million below estimate, the Revenue Department said. Year-to-date income tax collections are $9.4 billion, which is $371.1 million, or 3.8 percent, less than anticipated.

    Sales tax: The state collected $820.8 million in sales tax revenue for March, which was $19.1 million ahead of expectations. Year to date sales tax collections are $8.2 billion, which was $230.7 million or nearly 3 percent ahead of projections, the Revenue Department said Monday.

    Corporate tax: The state took in $2.3 billion in March, or $113.7 million, above estimate, the Revenue Department said. Year-to-date corporation tax collections are $4.2 billion, which is $453.6 million, or 12.1 percent, ahead of expectations.

    Inheritance tax: The state collected $85.1 million in inheritance tax revenue in March. That was $4.8 million below estimate, the Revenue Department said. Year-to-date collections total to $762.1 million, which is $17.9 million, or 2.3 percent, behind expectations.

    Realty transfer tax: The state took in $39.7 million in March,  which was $1.6 million below estimate, the Revenue Department said. That brings fiscal-year totals to $383.5 million. That’s $27.3 million, or 6.6 percent, behind expectations.

    Vice continues to be big business: Other general fund tax revenue, which includes cigarette, malt beverage, liquor and gaming taxes, totaled $61.4 million for the March, the Revenue Department said. That’s $4.7 million below estimate. And it brings the year-to-date totals to $1.3 billion, which is $1.2 million, or 0.1 percent, above estimate, the agency said Monday.

    John L. Micek
    John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. He's been covering Pennsylvania politics for more than 20 years and most recently served as Opinion Editor at PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. Micek's commentary is syndicated to more than 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. And he's a regular contributor to a host of broadcast outlets in Pennsylvania and abroad.

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