Senator Pat Browne E-Newsletter

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February Revenue Collections Solid

General Fund revenue collections for February were $90.5 million above the estimate for the month.  Gross receipts tax (GRT), which is generally due in March, was over estimate by $38.5 million in February.  There is a strong probability the monthly GRT surplus is from revenues that are included in the March estimate; therefore, it is likely this timing difference will result in lower revenues than would otherwise be received later this month.  Consequently, a truer picture for February might be that revenues were closer to $50 million, rather than $90 million, above the monthly estimate.

General Fund tax revenue was $101.8 million above the estimate, but non-tax revenue was $11.3 million below the estimate.  General Fund revenue collections for the fiscal year-to-date are $249.1 million ahead of estimate.  The Governor’s FY 2020-21 Executive Budget projects that FY 2019-20 General Fund revenue collections will exceed the Official Revenue Estimate by $200 million at fiscal year’s end.

February 2020 General Fund Revenue vs. Monthly Estimate:

  • General Fund revenue collections of nearly $2.2 billion were above the monthly estimate by $90.5 million, or 4.4%.
  • General Fund tax revenues were above the estimate by $101.8 million, or 4.9%.
  • Corporation taxes were $44.3 million, or 48%, above the estimate, resulting from earlier than expected GRT
  • Sales and use tax (SUT) collections beat the estimate by $17.1 million, or 2.2%, for the month.
  • Personal income tax (PIT) collections were above the estimate by $9.5 million, or 1%.
  • Inheritance tax revenues exceeded the estimate by $24.6 million, or 31.4%.
  • Realty transfer tax collections were $9.5 million, or 35.7%, above the estimate.
  • Non-tax revenues missed the estimate by $11.3 million, or 68.7%.

Fiscal Year 2019-20 vs. the Official Revenue Estimate To-Date:

  • Total General Fund revenues are $249.1 million, or 1.2%, higher than the Official Revenue Estimate through the month of February.
  • General Fund tax revenue is $178.3 million, or 0.9%, above the estimate.
  • Corporation taxes are $85.7 million, or 4.3%, below the estimate.
  • Sales and use taxes are $92.4 million, or 1.2%, above the estimate.
    • General SUT collections are $56.4 million, or 0.9%, above the
    • SUT collections on motor vehicle sales are $36 million, or 3.7%, higher than the estimate.
  • Personal income tax collections are ahead of the estimate by $105.6 million, or 1.2%.
    • Withheld PIT is $27.3 million, or 0.4%, below the estimate.
    • Non-withheld PIT (annual & estimated payments) is $132.9 million, or 9.4%, higher than the estimate.
  • Non-tax revenues are $70.8 million, or 33.1%, higher than the estimate. 

Fiscal Year 2019-20 vs. Fiscal Year 2018-19:

  • Total General Fund revenues through February are $682.8 million, or 3.4%, more than last year at this time.
  • General Fund tax revenue is $803.3 million, or 4.1%, higher than last year.
  • Corporation taxes are $4.7 million, or 0.2%, higher.
  • Sales and use tax collections are $278.5 million, or 3.8%, higher than last year through February.
  • Personal income tax collections exceed last year’s collections by $435.1 million, or 5.3%.
  • Non-tax revenues are $120.4 million, or 29.7%, less than last fiscal year through February.
    • The year-over-year decline is mainly attributable to nonrecurring expanded gaming license fee revenues received in FY 2018-19.

Motor License Fund:

  • Motor License Fund revenues are below the estimate by $14.8 million, or 0.8%, through February.
  • Motor License Fund revenues are $15.5 million, or 0.9%, more than last fiscal year at this time.

Spring into Pennsylvania History

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) oversees the State Historic Preservation Office, The State Archives and Museum, the State Records Center and the Bureau of Historic Sites and Museums, the latter of which manages the Commonwealth’s historic sites and museums that are commonly referred to as the Pennsylvania History Trail.  PHMC is governed by a commission consisting of nine residents of the Commonwealth appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate, six legislative appointees and the Secretary of Education.  The FY 2019-20 General Fund budget includes a $21.6 million appropriation to support the commission’s operations.  The Pennsylvania History Trail map shows the Commonwealth’s various historic sites and museums.

Significant Decreases in Number of Individuals Receiving Public Assistance

Included within the Governor’s Executive Budget is a chart of Program Measures for the Income Maintenance Programs in the Department of Human Services.  The chart presents the number of individuals who received services from Fiscal Year 2014-15 to a projection of those receiving services in 2020-21 in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

The TANF program provides state and federal funds for temporary cash support for families in transition to self-sufficiency. TANF cash assistance is provided for a limited time to people who meet income and resource guidelines and who comply with work activity requirements. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides aged, blind, and disabled persons with a monthly payment based on nationally uniform eligibility standards. SNAP is federally funded and regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service to assist low-income recipients in buying food.  LIHEAP is a federally funded program that assists eligible households by providing funds to offset the burden of high energy costs. LIHEAP also provides funds in heating crisis situations, arranges and pays for emergency deliveries, expedites payments to avoid utility shut offs, and provides furnace repairs through other agencies.

Comparing Fiscal Years 2014-15 to 2020-21, Pennsylvania is seeing a downward trend for all of these measures.  The largest numerical decrease was in the individuals receiving SNAP benefits category at 128,612 individuals, which is a 7% decrease.  The largest percentage decrease was 47% for persons receiving cash assistance category.

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