Local
1:29 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

Pennsylvania Tax Revenue Below Expectations So Far

Pennsylvania collected about six percent less than it expected in tax revenues last month.

The state came up 3.5% short of its $5.8 billion estimate for fiscal-year-to-date collections — a deficit of $215 million for July, August, and September.

For September, the Department of Revenue experienced shortcomings from its three major income streams: sales tax collections were down 1.4%, personal income tax revenues were down 4%, and corporation tax fell short of its expectations by nearly 13%

Elizabeth Brassell, a spokeswoman for the Department of Revenue, said the economic outlook appears gloomy.

"We are ahead of where we were last year at this point, just slightly over collections versus last September, but the economic forecast doesn't give us any real strong reason to think that things are going to get better in the rest of the fiscal year," said Brassell.

In fact, the only revenue collection that's above estimate is the money from taxes on cigarettes, malt beverages, liquor, and table games. Though just a small percentage of the state's total revenue, those levies are 2% above estimate.

Brassell said it's still early in the fiscal year, and the state budget office hasn't decided to make any changes in response to the smaller-than-expected revenue collections. She said in the past, options have included budgetary freezes.

Revenues for the past fiscal year came in hundreds of millions of dollars above the commonwealth's estimate.