By Rep. Steve Vaillancourt (R-Manchester)
With a day to go and then some readjustment for year end accounting, it appears that June revenues will slightly surpass expectations--not just the lowered expectations the House approved a few weeks ago, but the original expectations!
In other words, the shortfall for the year will be closer to $100 million (it was at $102 million at the end of May) than the $120.9 million in the revised estimates.
That's a bonus of about $20 million.
Who knows if the trend will hold, but I am convinced that the Ways and Means Committee was fairly accurate in its new estimates for FY2011. That's why I was one of only two Republicans to side with the committee. I have always believed we should stop playing politics with revenue estimates and come up with the best guess, not try to lowball so we will be forced to spend less (a Republican strategy; see ten year chart for proof!) or to highball so we can spend more (Democratic motus operandi the past four years). Keep in mind that as early as last fall, I was projecting a shortfall for the year in the $95-100 million range. After the scare that it would go to $120 million, we seem to have come back into the range the numbers were indicating six months ago.
Business taxes are likely to settle up a couple million for June, higher than the $74.2 million caluclated a year ago.
Meals and rooms is down but only about half as much as it was down for the first eight months of the year, a little more than five percent versus the ten percent shortfall earlier (off $1.3 million so far in June).
Real estate transfer came in $2 million ahead in June, $7.4 vs. $5.4, but is likely to trend back down now that the federal incentives have gone (or are going) away.
Amazingly, tobacco is up another $3.5 million for the month. That's nearly 20 percent beyond expectations. As usual, liquor and lottery are just about on plan.
Interest and dividends is the only source to significantly underperform for the month, $6.5 million (or about 30 percent) from the $18.2 million planned, but this had been built into the revised estimates, so it's not a surprise.
If I had one tax to look at (other than businesses) to get a sense of where we're headed, I'd look at rooms and meals receipts. The fact that this source has come back halfway is encouraging. If we don't slip off again in the next few months, we can breathe a sigh of relief. And should we see further improvement here, we could do better than the $77.3 million shortfall we've reestimated for FY11.
Of course, we may have lost $48 million in federal medicaid monies--or at leat part of that amount. I continue to believe, folks in Washington will restore most of it prior to January.