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Senator Pat Browne

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Senate Appropriations Committee Report
February  2016

Committee Website

General Fund Revenue Collections for January 2016 $6.2 Million, or 0.3%, Above Estimate

General Fund revenue collections for the month ended January 2016 totaled $2.5 billion, which was $6.2 million, or 0.3%, above estimate. Fiscal year-to-date collections total $15.9 billion, which is $9.2 million, or 0.1%, above estimate. 

The 2015-16 Official General Fund Revenue Estimate was signed in December, and the monthly distribution of the estimate was released at the end of January. Because seven months of revenue collections are already in the books, it is no surprise that the year-to-date actual revenue collections are on par with the estimated revenue collections through January.

Total General Fund revenue for January 2016 was $100.8 million, including a $50 million liquor store profit transfer, or 4.2%, more than General Fund revenue collected in January 2015. However, January 2015 revenues did not include a transfer of liquor store profits. If the $50 million liquor store profit transfer made in January 2016 is excluded, January 2016 revenues would have been $50.8 million, or 2.1%, more than January 2015.

For the fiscal year-to-date, total General Fund revenue is $201.8 million, or 1.3%, higher than FY 2014-15. Fiscal Year 2014-15 included a $100 million inheritance tax windfall and over $200 million of one-time special fund transfers that did not occur in this fiscal year, and this has the effect of boosting 2014-15 revenues when compared to 2015. Total tax revenue for FY 2015-16 is 3.1% higher than it was through January 2015. Excluding the inheritance tax windfall from FY 2014-15, tax revenue collections in FY 2015-16 would be 3.8% more than last year on an equivalent basis.

Corporation Taxes

January corporation tax collections were below estimate by $7.3 million, or 4.7%. January is not a particularly important month for corporation taxes because no large quarterly or annual payments are due for calendar year tax filers. For the year, corporation tax collections are $4.5 million, or 0.3%, ahead of estimate; however, they are $3.5 million, or 0.2%, lower than FY 2014-15 through January, due to the reduction and phase-out of the capital stock and franchise tax.

Sales and Use Tax (SUT)

Sales and use tax collections were ahead of estimate by $12.4 million, or 1.4%, for the month. January’s general sales and use tax collections are the highest of the fiscal year because the taxes collected in December, during the peak of the holiday shopping season, are remitted in January.

General SUT was $22.5 million, or 2.9%, above estimate. Sales and use tax on motor vehicles was $10.1 million, or 10.1%, below estimate for the month. Sales and use tax collections are $12.4 million, or 0.2%, above estimate for the fiscal year-to-date.

Overall, sales and use tax revenues are 3.2% ahead of last year at this time. The Official Revenue Estimate anticipates year-over-year sales and use tax growth of 3.3%.

Personal Income Tax (PIT)

Personal income tax collections were above estimate by $9 million, or 0.8%, for the month. PIT from employers’ withholding underperformed the estimate by $15 million for the month. Quarterly estimated PIT collections, however, were $21.9 million, or 5.3%, above estimate for January, thus offsetting the underperformance in withholding. The quarterly payments due in January 2016 represent the final  installments for the 2015 tax year. Payments on annual tax returns were $2 million over the estimate for the month. PIT collections are $9 million, or 0.1%, above estimate for the year, and they are running 5.4% ahead of last year at this time. The Official Revenue Estimate projects 5.0% annual growth over last year.

Miscellaneous Taxes

Realty transfer tax (RTT) collections exceeded the estimate by $1.6 million, or 3.8%, for the month. RTT is now $1.8 million, or 0.6%, above estimate for the year and a strong 18.1% ahead of last year. Inheritance tax collections were $3.7 million, or 5.3%, below estimate for the month, and they are 0.7% below estimate for the year.

Cigarette tax collections were $4.3 million below estimate for the month and are $4.2 million short of estimate for the year. Liquor tax collections beat the estimate at $667,718 over for January. Table games tax revenue was $380,480 below estimate for the month.

Non-Tax Revenues

Non-tax revenue collections totaled $66.2 million, which was $2.8 million below estimate. Nontax revenue collections are 1.3% below estimate for the year.

Motor License Fund

Motor License Fund collections were $22.1 million, or 10.1%, below estimate for the month of January. The Motor License Fund is $21.9 million, or 1.5%, below estimate for the year. Motor License Fund revenues are 7.9% more than last year through January.



Contact Senator Browne:

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Allentown 18101
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FAX: 610-821-6798
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Harrisburg 17120
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Western Lehigh County
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FAX: 610-366-2329
By Appointment Only

Northern Lehigh County
North Whitehall Township Building
3256 Levans Road
Coplay, PA 18037
FAX: 610-769-5568
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