Budget Picture Brightens in New Fiscal Year
By Daniel C. Vock, Staff Writer
With most states closing their books on a fiscal year that ended last month, several report that revenues are recovering from record lows brought on by the recession.
Tennessee revenues are coming back after two years of decline, notes The (Nashville) Tennesseean . The state's sales tax, which accounts for three fifths of its total revenues, has brought in an increasing amount of money each month for the past 15 months. All told, revenues for the last fiscal year appear to be 4 percent higher than they were in the previous year. Still, the administration of Governor Bill Haslam does not expect revenues to reach pre-recession levels until 2014.
New York Comptroller Tom DiNapoli tempered good news on his state's improved revenues with a warning, reports the Times Union of Albany. "Our fiscal health is tenuous," he said. Still, tax collections were $799 million higher than budget writers originally estimated for the first quarter of the state's fiscal year (New York begins its fiscal year in April). Coupled with savings from budget cuts, the higher revenue contributed to a $2.5 billion balance in the state's general fund — $2 billion more than projected.
In Massachusetts, revenues from last fiscal year came up 10.6 percent higher than the year before, writes The Boston Globe . That is $723 million higher than forecasters predicted when the state's budget was fashioned. "Because a large portion of the surplus tax revenues is from higher-than-expected capital gains and other investment returns that might not be recurring," wrote Jay Gonzalez, the secretary of administration and finance, "a significant portion of the surplus should be deposited in the rainy day fund."
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, a Republican, touted the state's $311 million surplus during a press conference Tuesday, reports The Virginian Pilot . His state's tax collections were up 5.8 percent, compared to an expected growth of 3.5 percent. More than half of the excess money will go to the state's rainy day fund.