Senator Pat Browne E-Newsletter

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Senate Appropriations Committee Report

April 2018

Committee Website
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(all tables and graphics can be viewed online) 

March General Fund Revenues 

General Fund revenue collections for the month of March did not meet expectations, largely as the result of weak corporate net income and gross receipts tax collections and delayed gaming license fee receipts.  The revenue estimate for the month of March included $70 million of anticipated iGaming license fees, but the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has indicated that these fees will most likely be received early in the next fiscal year.

Corporate net income tax (CNIT) revenues missed the monthly estimate by $135 million, with $102 million of the shortfall being attributable to annual payments due for the 2017 tax year.  Gross receipts tax collections for March missed the monthly estimate by $80 million, which contributed to the $121 million monthly shortfall for the corporation tax category.  On a more positive note, insurance premiums tax and financial institutions tax (i.e. bank shares tax) were over the monthly estimate by a combined $95.2 million.

March General Fund Revenue:

  • General Fund revenue collections of $4.32 billion were below the monthly estimate by $274.2 million
  • General Fund tax revenues were below estimate by $176.8 million, or 4%
  • Corporation taxes were $121.4 million, or 5.2%, below the estimate
  • Sales and use tax collections missed the estimate by $9 million, or 1.1%, for the month
  • Personal income tax collections were below the estimate by $23.1 million, or 2.1%
  • Non-tax revenues missed the estimate by $97.4 million, or 73.5%

Fiscal Year 2017-18 vs. the Official Revenue Estimate To-Date:

  • Total General Fund revenues are $221.7 million, or 0.9%, higher than the Official Revenue Estimate through the month of March
  • General Fund tax revenue is $81.1 million, or 0.4%, less than estimate
  • Corporation taxes are $151.9 million, or 3.9%, short of the estimate
  • Sales and use taxes are $13.4 million, or 0.2%, below the estimate
    • General SUT collections are $19.1 million, or 0.3%, above estimate
    • SUT collections on motor vehicle sales are $32.5 million, or 3.1%, below estimate
  • Personal income tax collections exceed the estimate by $115.1 million, or 1.3%
  • Non-tax revenues are $302.8 million, or 15.5%, over estimate

Fiscal Year 2017-18 vs. FY 2016-17:

  • Total General Fund revenues through March are $2.88 billion higher than last year at this time
  • General Fund tax revenue is $961.7 million, or 4.4%, higher

Motor License Fund: 

  • Motor License Fund revenues exceed the estimate by $11.7 million, or 0.5%, through March
  • Motor License Fund revenues are $182.4 million, or 9.3%, more than last fiscal year at this time 

The State Food Purchase Program 

The State Food Purchase Program (SFPP) is intended to help provide food assistance to Pennsylvanians that are at-risk for hunger.  The Commonwealth’s budget annually appropriates funding to the Department of Agriculture for the SFPP.  In the current year’s budget, $19.2 million was included for the program.

Under the SFPP, the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Food Distribution provides grants to each county for the wholesale purchase of food at competitively bid prices, for the purchase of equipment and for administrative costs.

Funding is distributed to each county based on its share of individuals eligible for unemployment compensation, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and Medical Assistance. 

The counties work with community and civic groups, faith-based groups and other non-profit organizations that run food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens to distribute the food purchased with grant funds to individuals in need.  The SFPP guidelines ensure that the food being purchased and distributed through the program is nutritious.

To be eligible for food assistance under the program, an individual must be living in a household receiving unemployment compensation, SNAP benefits, cash assistance, medical assistance, or have income at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level.  The Department of Agriculture estimates that over 2 million individuals are served by the SFPP in 867,000 households.

Additionally, $1 million of the SFPP appropriation is allocated to the Pennsylvania Surplus Agriculture System (PASS).  The PASS program provides funding to the emergency food providers to purchase surplus foods produced by Pennsylvania’s farmers.

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