Pa. collected $3.6B in taxes in January, coming in under projections | Friday Morning Coffee

Gov. Josh Shapiro’s first budget address is weeks away. Here’s a look at the state’s bottom line and what’s ahead

By: - February 3, 2023 7:11 am
Pennsylvania Capitol Building. May 24, 2022. Harrisburg, Pa. (Photo by Amanda Berg, for the Capital-Star).

Pennsylvania Capitol Building on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Harrisburg, Pa. (Photo by Amanda Berg for the Capital-Star).

(*This story was updated at 10:57 a.m. on Friday 2/3/23 to correct the date of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s inauguration. It was Jan. 17.)

Pennsylvania collected $3.6 billion in tax revenue in January, coming in $205.6  million, or 5.5%, behind projections, according to newly released state data.

The numbers released by the state Department of Revenue on Thursday are the first indicator of the commonwealth’s fiscal health as new Gov. Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, gets ready to give his first budget address to a joint session of the General Assembly on March 7.

Year-to-date tax collections for the fiscal year that ends June 30 total $23.3 billion, which is $297.5 million, or 1.3%, above estimate, acting Revenue Secretary Pat Browne said in a statement.

*Shapiro, the former two-term attorney general, came into office on Jan. 17 buoyed by a $5.4 billion surplusbut new data by the state’s official budget forecasters could signal rough sailing ahead despite the healthy balance.

For one, optimism sparked by the state’s historically low unemployment rate and declining inflation rates could be offset by declines in the job marketUSA Today’s Pennsylvania Capital Bureau reported, citing research by the state’s Independent Fiscal Office.

The state’s fiscal forecaster also expects revenues to further decline because of the economy and other factors, the news organization reported.

“Lower-income consumers are not in a very good position at this point,” Matthew Knittel, the office’s executive director, said.

Below, a look at key collection categories, and how they’re faring.

(Getty Images)

Sales Tax: Sale tax receipts totaled $1.3 billion for January, which was $11.6 million above estimate. Year-to-date sales tax collections total $8.4 billion, which is $146.4 million, or 1.8%, more than anticipated.

Personal Income Tax: PIT collections in January totaled $1.7 billion, or $243.7 million below estimate. That brought year-to-date collections to $9.2 billion, which was $216.6 million, or 2.3%, below estimate.

Corporate Taxes: January corporation tax revenue total of $223.4 million was $13.8 million above estimate. Year-to-date corporation tax collections total $3 billion, which was $342.4 million, or 13.1%, above estimate.

Inheritance Tax: Collections for the month totaled $125.9 million, or $4 million above estimate. That brought the year-to-date total to $851.6 million, which was $12.3 million, or 1.4%, below estimate.

Realty Transfer Tax: Collections totaled $55.5 million for January, or $17.1 million below estimate. That brought the fiscal-year total to $407.4 million, which was $43.8 million, or 9.7%, less than anticipated.

Other: General Fund tax revenue, including cigarette, malt beverage, liquor and gaming taxes, totaled $129 million for the month, which was $0.2 million above estimate, bringing the year-to-date total to $1.1 billion, which is $32.3 million, or 2.9%, below estimate.

Some other news of note:

Non-tax revenue totaled $37.9 million for January, which was $25.7 million above estimate. That brought the year-to-date total to $384.6 million, which is $113.7 million, or 42%, above estimate.

The state’s Motor License Fund took in $222.2 million last month, which was $2.1 million below estimate. Fiscal year-to-date collections for the fund -– which include gas and diesel taxes, as well as other license, fine and fee revenues -– totaled $1.6 billion, which was $22.8 million, or 1.4%, above estimate, the administration said in its statement.

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.