Democrats tend to refer to the $785 million in excess tax collected over the 2010-11 fiscal year as a “surplus”, which should go towards education and social services. Republicans call the money a revenue over-estimate, meaning that budget officials under estimated the revenue the state would collect when they made their predictions last August. The Republicans effectively voted to roll most of the money over to the current fiscal year, which began on July 1.
“It’s hard to think of it in terms of a surplus when overall we’re looking at $4 billion in debt,” said Elizabeth Brassell, Press Secretary for the Department of Revenue.
On the other hand, a spokesperson for Philadelphia Senator Vince Hughes, Democratic Chair of the Appropriations Committee, said they wanted to see more of the money used to at least ease the shock of budget reductions.
Total spending in the General Fund budget was $27.25 billion, three percent less than last fiscal year. The four state-related universities – Temple, Pitt, Penn State, Lincoln -- received 19 percent last than last year. The 14 state universities received 18 percent less, and the Department of Public Welfare received $19.2 million less.
According to the Department of Revenue, Pennsylvania collected $3.2 billion in General Fund revenue in June, which was $246.1 million, or 8.3 percent, more than anticipated. Fiscal year 2010-11 General Fund collections totaled $27.5 billion, which is $785.5 million, or 2.9 percent, above estimate.
Sales tax receipts totaled $1 billion for June, $72.2 million above estimate.
Sales tax collections for the fiscal year totaled $8.6 billion, which is $252.9 million, or 3 percent, more than anticipated.
Personal income tax (PIT) revenue in June was $1 billion, $115.5 million above estimate. This brought fiscal-year PIT collections to $10.4 billion, which is $311.2 million, or 3.1 percent, above estimate.
June corporation tax revenue of $502.5 million was $32.3 million above estimate.
Fiscal-year corporation tax collections totaled $4.9 billion, which is $245.4 million, or 5.3 percent, above estimate.
Inheritance tax revenue for the month was $80.2 million, $9.2 million above estimate. This brought the fiscal-year total to $805.2 million, which is $34.3 million, or 4.5 percent above estimate.
Realty transfer tax revenue was $29.5 million for June, $1.7 million below estimate, bringing the fiscalyear total to $279.2 million, which is $39.4 million, or 12.4 percent less than anticipated.
Other General Fund tax revenue, including cigarette, malt beverage, liquor and table games taxes, totaled $131.4 million for the month, $6.9 million below estimate and bringing the fiscal-year total to $1.5 billion, which is $30.1 million, or 2 percent, below estimate.
Non-tax revenue totaled $443.8 million in June, $25.5 million above estimate, bringing the fiscal-year total to $1 billion, which is $11.2 million, or 1.1 percent, above estimate.