Pa. finished 2022 with $19.7B in tax collections; ahead of projections so far | Wednesday Coffee

December tax revenues totaled $4B, 8.6 percent ahead of estimates, officials said

By: - January 4, 2023 7:07 am
A proposed reduction to Pennsylvania's corporate net income tax could be included in this year's state budget.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The commonwealth closed out its tax collections for 2022 on a high note, taking in a total of $19.7 billion through the end of December, which was $503.1 million, or 2.6 percent ahead of projections, the Wolf administration said Tuesday.

The commonwealth took in $4 billion in tax collections in December, which was Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s last, full month at the helm. The tallies came in $319.9 million, or 8.6 percent, ahead of projections, the administration said in a statement.

“Going into 2023, Pennsylvania is in a strong fiscal position,” Wolf said in a statement. “Year to date, we are 2.6 percent above our estimated revenue collections, which means we have $503.1 million in the bank above and beyond what we expected,” Wolf said in a statement. “That’s money that can be used to better support the people of Pennsylvania in the coming year, and I look forward to seeing what the new administration and the General Assembly will accomplish on behalf of Pennsylvanians.”

Last month’s vigorous tax collections were fired, in part, by a bookkeeping decision to deposit personal income tax revenue on the first day of December, rather than on the last day of November, as initially expected, the administration said.

Below, a look at how those collections broke down by category.

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

Sales Taxes: The state collected $1.2 billion in December, which wa $2.3 million below estimate. Year-to-date sales tax collections total $7.1 billion, which is $134.8 million, or 1.9 percent, more than anticipated.

Personal Income Taxes: Income tax revenue in December was $1.4 billion, or $204.9 million above estimate. That brought year-to-date PIT collections to $7.5 billion, which was $27.1 million, or 0.4 percent, above estimate.

Corporate Taxes: December’s corporation tax total of $1 billion was $116.3 million above estimate, according to the administration. Year-to-date corporation tax collections total $2.7 billion, which is $328.7 million, or 13.6 percent, above estimate.

Inheritance Taxes: Inheritance tax revenue for December totaled $138 million, or $6.1 million above estimate. That brought the year-to-date total to $725.7 million, which was $16.3 million, or 2.2 percent, below estimate.

Realty Transfer Taxes: Collections totaled $55.8 million for December, or $23.3 million below estimate. That brought the year-to-date total to $351.9 million, which was $26.7 million, or 7.1 percent, less than anticipated.

Other Taxes: Other General Fund tax revenue, including cigarette, malt beverage, liquor and gaming taxes, totaled $174.2 million in December, or $5.1 million below estimate. That brought the year-to-date total to $939.6 million, which was $32.5 million, or 3.3 percent, below estimate, the administration said.

Gov. Tom Wolf delivers his final budget address to a joint session of the state House and Senate on Tuesday, 2/8/22 (Commonwealth Media Services photo).

In that same statement, Wolf, who leaves office on Jan. 17 with the inauguration of Democratic Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro, took an unsurprising valedictory lap on the state’s fiscal health as he heads out the door.

“My goal has always been to build a strong foundation for Pennsylvania, so that our government can invest in the things that make Pennsylvanians’ lives better,” Wolf said, noting the $5 billion balance in the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

The York County pol added that he was “so proud of the historic $3.7 billion dollar investment I’ve made in education over the past eight years. The strong fiscal foundation that my administration has built will empower the next administration and the General Assembly to continue making life-changing investments in the people of Pennsylvania in the years to come.”

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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.