Although June 30 marked the end of the fiscal year for revenue purposes, it does not appear that all revenues (notably $34.1 million expected in Medicaid recovery) were in.
Thus, there are two ways of looking at the final revenue totals for the year. If the Medicaid monies arrive, the state will be in $7.5 million over plan for the year. That’s an amazing accuracy rate; it’s within 0.35 percent of the projected revenues of $2,189,200,000 ($2.189 billion).
Should the Medicaid monies not arrive (most “experts” say they will), the state will fall $26.6 million short of revenue projections.
An $11.5 million shortfall in tobacco revenues (thanks to ten cent per pack tax reduction House Speaker Bill O’Brien insisted upon) was offset by $10.3 million more than expected in business taxes, $7.9 million extra in rooms and meals monies, $3.1 million in the real estate transfer tax, and $2.5 million in securities revenue.
Other revenue sources which came in under play were, as had been indicated all year, liquor monies ($6.7 million under plan), interest and dividends monies ($3.5 million under) and lottery monies ($3.4 million under).
Overall, it was a rather amazing job of revenue projections, not just in one category but in all of them.
Most people expected the cigarette tax would come in $10 million under plan, that the Speaker was dead wrong in insisting that you could recover revenues by selling more packs if the tax were lowered.
Legislation cutting the tax was accompanied by a measure that would return the ten cent tax if monies fell short, but that rider won’t kick in for another year. Of course, legislators elected in November could raise the tax (ten cents or more) and have it kick in upon passage.
If that sounds like a prediction, so be it.
When I returned from a weekend north of the border, I read a media report that June revenues were $10 million short, but as I reported here before I left, those numbers were not final. June’s numbers actually came in $2.1 million above the $204.9 million estimated. The discrepancy is easily explained; the “other” category surpassed the $18.1 million plan by $3.1 million, but it had been million shy until the very end.
Overall the state took in $513.3 million in business taxes for the year; $237.1 million in rooms and meals taxes; $212 million in tobacco taxes; $124.7 from liquor sales; and $66.6 million from the lottery ($74.0 million in the other category as opposed to $74.1 million expected).
Fish and Game revenues came in at $9.8 million $0.9 million shy of the $10.7 projected.
Highway funds came in at $283.8 million, $5.1 million over plan, not due to the gasoline tax but rather due to an excess of motor vehicle fees. The gas tax was slightly ($1.5 million) below the plan of $124.5 million.
The numbers speak for themselves. Other than the editorial comment on the cigarette tax, I could point out that if Governor John Lynch’s estimates had been used, we’d be in a big hole today, far in excess of $100 million.
Ain’t democracy grand?