The state’s still in a massive budget hole, but things have looked a little brighter this week. The first quarter of the fiscal year produced general revenues that exceeded expectations and the prior year.
That’s good news for a state that had predicted a shortfall of more than $1 billion for the fiscal year. Sales taxes were up nearly 10 percent for the state and for municipal government.
That revenue source is often a predictor of the overall economy. Consumers willing to spend are often the kickstart needed for the overall economy, since their purchases drive 75 percent of the nation’s economy. State Treasurer Scott Meacham said General Revenue Fund collections for the months of July, August and September totaled $1.2 billion, which is 6.8 percent above the prior year and 4 percent above the official estimate.
The estimated revenues are key as they are the basis for the state’s budget building. Anything over estimate allows agencies to stretch spending and lets the state build for leaner months.
One month or even one quarter does not make a trend. But the growth in every major revenue source makes for some optimism in a sea of gloom. The only area where the state lags behind last year’s numbers is gross production taxes on natural gas.