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.

    An award-winning political journalist with more than 25 years' experience in the news business, John L. Micek is The Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. Before joining The Capital-Star, Micek spent six years as Opinion Editor at PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa., where he helped shape and lead a multiple-award-winning Opinion section for one of Pennsylvania's most-visited news websites. Prior to that, he spent 13 years covering Pennsylvania government and politics for The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa. His career has also included stints covering Congress, Chicago City Hall and more municipal meetings than he could ever count, Micek contributes regular analysis and commentary to a host of broadcast outlets, including CTV-News in Canada and talkRadio in London, U.K., as well as "Face the State" on CBS-21 in Harrisburg, Pa.; "Pennsylvania Newsmakers" on WGAL-8 in Lancaster, Pa., and the Pennsylvania Cable Network. His weekly column on American politics is syndicated nationwide to more than 800 newspapers by Cagle Syndicate.

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