This morning the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council issued its monthly Economic and Revenue Update , but the news is not as good as the headline suggests. Here are the key bullets on revenue from the summary:
- Major General Fund-State revenue collections for the December 11, 2014 – January 10, 2015 collection period were $16.7 million (1.4%) higher than the November forecast.
- During the collection period, there were several large one-time assessment payments and refunds that totaled $21.2 million. In addition, a $21.0 million refund that was forecasted for this month has yet to occur. Had the refund occurred, and the one-time payments not occurred, collections would have been $25.5 million (2.1%) lower than forecasted.
- Cumulatively, collections are now $15.2 million (0.5%) higher than forecasted, but without the aforementioned special factors collections would have been $27.0 million (0.9%) lower than forecasted.
Here is a chart snipped from the Update showing monthly seasonally-adjusted Revenue Act collections since 2004.
Last month I noted that the strong retail sales figure that the U.S. Census Bureau had reported for November boded well for the collections in the December 11 – January period. This month’s collections report did not live up to those expectations.
Next month’s report will finish off the Christmas season. Budget writers will be keeping there fingers crossed that this month’s trend reverses: If we get another month that is $25 million below forecast, the March revision to the state revenue forecast is likely to reduce the revenue available for the 2015-17 budget.