OLS revenue snapshot: Some increased collections, but economic concerns linger

TRENTON – The Office of Legislative Services issued its review of revenue collections for the first four months of this fiscal year, a mixed bag of increased receipts in certain categories clouded by concerns about the overall economy.

OLS said that gross income tax, sales tax and corporation business tax collections are above collections for the same four-month period of last fiscal year, but that with the Treasury Department blaming severe weather for October’s lower-than-expected figures, it becomes more difficult to “discern the current revenue picture.’’

Gross income tax collections, for instance, are at $2.45 billion for this fiscal year’s first four months, 2 percent better than the same prior-year period. OLS acknowledged that there may be storm-related filing delays, just as Treasury had stated earlier this week.

Sales tax collections are $2.03 billion, up 2.7 percent from last fiscal year’s first four months.

The certified target requires 3.9 percent growth for the year in sales taxes, and OLS stated that it agrees with the Treasury Department’s chief economist that recent severe storms may have depressed consumer spending and limited sales tax revenue growth.

And corporation business tax collections are at $530.8 million, up 7 percent. While that is very close to the certified estimate of 7.3 percent growth for the year, OLS pointed out that the corporation business tax figure specifically for banks and financial institutions “remains weak,’’ down 57.9 percent from the same four months last fiscal year.

OLS said that another source of disappointment is the revenue picture for casinos, down 15.9 percent from the prior year’s first four months; and for the lottery, revenues essentially are flat when compared to the same period a year ago.

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  OLS revenue snapshot: Some increased collections, but economic concerns linger