Senator Pat Browne E-Newsletter

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Senate Appropriations Committee Report

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General Fund Revenues Remain Stout Across Most Sources

General Fund revenue collections for the month of October exceeded the estimate by $159.9 million.  General Fund tax revenues were $141.9 million higher than the monthly estimate.  Non-tax revenue was $18 million above the estimate.  General Fund revenue collections for the first four months of the fiscal year are $788.2 million ahead of estimate.

The $788.2 million year-to-date revenue surplus is attributable to each of the three major tax types: corporation taxes, including corporate net income tax (CNIT); consumption taxes, including sales and use tax (SUT); and other taxes, including   personal income tax (PIT).  Having this broad spectrum of revenue sources exceeding expectations indicates that corporate profits, consumer spending and employee wages are holding up well in the economy thus far this fiscal year.

October 2021 General Fund Revenue vs. Monthly Estimate:

  • General Fund revenue collections of $2.81 billion were above the monthly estimate by $159.9 million, or 6%.
  • General Fund tax revenues were above estimate by $141.9 million, or 5.4%.
  • Corporation taxes were $33 million, or 24.8%, above estimate.
  • Sales and use tax collections beat the estimate by $51.8 million, or 4.6%, for the month.
    • General SUT collections were $60.9 million, or 6.3%, above estimate.
    • SUT collections on motor vehicle sales were $9.1 million, or 5.5%, lower than the estimate.
  • Personal income tax collections were above estimate by $45.8 million, or 4.4%.
  • Liquor, inheritance and gaming taxes were each above estimate, while cigarette and realty transfer taxes were slightly below estimate.
  • Non-tax revenues exceeded the estimate by $18 million.

 Fiscal Year 2021-22 vs. the Official Revenue Estimate To-Date:

  • Total General Fund revenues are $788.2 million, or 7%, higher than the Official Revenue Estimate through the month of October.
  • General Fund tax revenue is $751.9 million, or 6.7%, above estimate.
  • Corporation taxes are $290.4 million, or 27%, above estimate.
  • Sales and use taxes are $194.1 million, or 4.4%, higher than the estimate.
    • General SUT collections are $202.6 million, or 5.3%, above estimate.
    • SUT collections on motor vehicle sales are $8.5 million, or 1.3%, lower than the estimate.
  • Personal income tax collections exceed the estimate by $210.7 million, or 4.8%.
    • Withheld PIT is $79.9 million, or 2.2%, above estimate.
    • Non-withheld PIT (annual & estimated payments) is $130.8 million, or 16.8%, more than the estimate.
  • Non-tax revenues are $36.3 million, or 42%, higher than the estimate. 

Fiscal Year 2021-22 vs. Fiscal Year 2020-21:

  • Total General Fund revenues through October are $414.9 million lower than last year at this time because of personal income and corporation tax filing extensions from FY 2019-20 into July and August of 2020.
  • Last year’s tax filing extensions resulted in approximately $1.8 billion being shifted from FY 2019-20 into the first two months of the 2020-21 fiscal year.
  • This one-time anomaly skews any comparison between FY 2020-21 and FY 2021-22 tax collections, especially corporation taxes, sales and use taxes and personal income taxes.

Motor License Fund:

  • Motor License Fund revenues are above estimate by $42.4 million, or 4.6%, through October.
  • Motor License Fund revenues are $14.7 million, or 1.5%, less than last fiscal year at this time.
  • Motor License Fund collections during the spring of 2020 were disrupted, which resulted in higher-than-normal revenues being received later in the year.

PASSHE Enrollment Decline Continues

In October, based on its fall headcount census, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) reported that 88,651 students are attending its 14 member universities.  This year’s headcount represents a decline of 5,057 (5.4%) students from the previous school year when 93,708 students were enrolled.

The universities experiencing the greatest decline in enrollment from the previous year are Indiana University, which enrolled 759 (7.5%) fewer students and East Stroudsburg University, which enrolled 706 (12.1%) fewer students.  On a positive note, Cheyney University enrolled an additional 15 (2.4%) students, and Mansfield University enrolled 11 (0.6%) more students.

Historically, PASSHE’s enrollment peaked in 2010 at 119,513 students.  Since 2010, enrollment has declined in each of the last 11 consecutive years.  When 2010 enrollment is compared to the current year’s enrollment, it shows that PASSHE has 30,862 (25.8%) fewer students.

During the 11-year period from 2010 to present, 13 of the 14 member universities experienced enrollment declines.  The only university to increase enrollment during the period was West Chester University, which added 3,150 (21.7%) students.

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