CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien and House Ways and Means Chairman Stephen Stepanek today offered the following comments in response to the announcement of December state revenues figures, showing that while receipts were $4 million ahead of plan, this is only because $9.2 million in Medicaid Enhancement Tax receipts came in December, later than the traditional November filing. Otherwise, state revenues would have been below target by $4.8 million.
House Speaker William O’Brien
“Today’s revenue figures show just why it was so important to use reasonable, responsible revenue figures in forecasting the state budget. Throughout the year, business taxes have been strong, and sin taxes have missed their targets. Last month, sin taxes were still below estimates, but unfortunately, business taxes also did not hit their marks. This is ongoing evidence of why our Ways and Means Committee should be commended for using reliable revenue targets, and not inflating estimates, as prior legislatures have done, and as the Governor did in his budget proposal, so allow for more spending.”
House Ways and Means Chairman Stephen Stepanek
“Across the board, from the beer tax, which is below targets by 2.8%, to lottery revenues, which are off by 12.8, our sin taxes are uniformly under our estimates. Clearly, our citizens simply can’t afford discretionary spending in these difficult financial times. Thankfully, our business taxes have been up, and even this month, the business enterprise tax – the best indicator of employment – was ahead of schedule. Ultimately, we need a resolution on the issue of the hospitals and the Medicaid Enhancement Tax, but otherwise our revenue estimates have been within 1/100th of 1% for the year through the first six months. This is an extraordinary achievement for the hard work of the House and Senate Ways and Means Committees.”