With one month to the end of the state’s fiscal year, May collections by the Department of Revenue pushed the General Fund surplus for the year over the $500 million level. The collection figures will fuel debate among lawmakers -- in some instances within their own party -- whether to spend more than the $27.3 billion in General Fund monies Governor Corbett is insisting on.
“If the numbers came in under projection, that would have taken some of the juice out of the debate,” said one House Republican. “But collecting more than expected will just increase it.”
The House recently approved a budget right on Corbett’s $27.3 billion number. The plan funds education at a higher level than Corbett proposed but appropriates less for welfare.
Senate Republicans say that the $27.3 billion number is a floor not a ceiling. The May collections will give them more ammunition for that position.
Officially, the Revenue Department reports that Pennsylvania collected $1.8 billion in General Fund revenue in May, which was $33.9 million, or 1.9 percent, more than anticipated. Fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections total $24.3 billion, which is $539.4 million, or 2.3 percent, above estimate.
Sales tax receipts totaled $692.6 million for May, $36.6 million above estimate. Year-to-date sales tax collections total $7.6 billion, which is $180.7 million, or 2.4 percent, more than anticipated.
Personal income tax (PIT) revenue in May was $687.3 million, $14.7 million below estimate. This brings year-to-date PIT collections to $9.4 billion, which is $195.7 million, or 2.1 percent, above estimate.
May corporation tax revenue of $113.4 million was $25.7 million, above estimate. Year-to-date corporation tax collections total $4.4 billion, which is $213.2 million, or 5.1 percent, above estimate.
Inheritance tax revenue for the month was $78.8 million, $6.6 million above estimate, bringing the year-to-date total to $725 million, which is $25.1 million, or 3.6 percent, above estimate.
Realty transfer tax revenue was $23.8 million for May, $500,000 above estimate, bringing the fiscalyear total to $249.7 million, which is $37.7 million, or 13.1 percent, less than anticipated.
Other General Fund tax revenue, including cigarette, malt beverage, liquor and table games taxes, totaled $120.4 million for the month, $9.6 million below estimate and bringing the year-to-date total to $1.3 billion, which is $23.2 million, or 1.7 percent, below estimate.
Non-tax revenue totaled $58.4 million for the month, $11.2 million below estimate, bringing the yearto- date total to $592.6 million, which is $14.5 million, or 2.4 percent, below estimate.