State revenue collections jump in February
by Dick Aldrich
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon’s administration continues to publish bullish economic figures heading into the campaign season.
But the state’s budget chief says Friday’s report of a jump in state revenues is no reason to celebrate just yet.
Friday, the state’s Budget and Planning Office published figures showing general state revenue collections in February sprung up more than 15 percent over last February and put the state in better position to collect the predicted amount necessary to cover the state budget for the current fiscal year.
Earlier this week, the state Department of Economic Development published a short statement showing that the state added 21,000 jobs in January and that the state’s unemployment rate plunged to 7.5 percent, the lowest jobless rate since November 2008.
Linda Luebbering, the director of the State’s Budget and Planning office said February’s collections figures need to be put in context. She said they are compared to last February, when a blizzard shut down state government and much of the state, for several days.
Individual income tax in February showed a 9.8 percent growth over last February while sales tax collections rose nearly 19 percent when compared to last February.
Luebbering said the year to date totals show an overall growth of 2.4 percent in the state’s revenue collections, but that is still off the pace needed to fully fund the state’s budget for the fiscal year.
“We still need to grow 3.2 percent to make our revenue estimate,” she said. “I am pleased the year to date numbers are beginning to get there, and we are still seeing some good growth on the individual income tax and sales tax lines.”
But Luebbering points out that corporate income tax and franchise tax collections continue to plummet, down 34 percent over February 2011.
Currently the state has collected $4.6 billion in revenues with four months to go in the fiscal year. The current fiscal year’s budget was based on the assumption that the state would collect $7.3 billion.
“That’s still a lot of billions to go,” Luebbering said. “We’re optimistic that (February’s collections) are a good sign, but you have to remain cautious to make sure the budget stays in balance.”