Treasury Dept. says state revenue collections slightly higher than forecast

TRENTON — Revenue collections through the end of March are meeting the Treasury Department’s revised forecasts as the state enters the critical fourth quarter of fiscal 2011, Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff  said in a release late Friday.

Total revenues for the first nine months of the year have come in at 0.7 percent higher than forecasts, which were updated at the time of the Governor’s Budget Address on Feb. 22. For the month of March alone, revenues were 6.7 percent ahead of expectations, Treasury stated.

“While the March figures are reassuring, the April and May figures will give a clearer picture of how the state is faring as we adopt a new budget,” Sidamon-Eristoff said in a release. “Because of the April filing deadline for income tax, revenue collections during these two months are much higher than during other months.”

Income taxes, the biggest source of state revenue, are running 2.3 percent above year-to-date expectations, according to the department. A higher-than-expected number of refunds in April could reduce or reverse the year-to-date gains, Sidamon-Eristoff cautioned. The sales tax, historically the second-biggest source of revenue, is 0.7 percent above forecasts, and the corporation business tax is 7 percent below forecasts.

“It’s cause for some concern that we have been so dependent on the income tax for revenue gains in fiscal 2012,” Sidamon-Eristoff said. “A more even, broad-based increase in all types of revenue would be more reassuring.”

For the month of March alone, income tax collections were 62.8 percent higher than estimates, but corporation business tax collections were 34.6 percent below expectations. Sales taxes were 5.5 percent higher than revised forecasts. Treasury Dept. says state revenue collections slightly higher than forecast