The majority of state revenue sources came in higher than expected last month, according to the Department of Finance and Administration’s March revenue summary. The overall year-to-date collections for 2014 are leveling out at just a few percentage points above expectations, but March in particular generated net general revenues that were a whopping 11.6 percent (or $40 million) above March of last year. Net general revenue represents the bottom line of funds available for distribution to state agencies and is calculated by taking certain off-the-top deductions from gross general revenue (like education adequacy funding and tax refunds).
A smaller amount of tax refunds, and a boost in sales taxes and personal income taxes in March contributed to the higher than normal net general revenues. Last month’s tax refunds went down about 3.4 percent compared to March of last year, representing a gain over expectations for state revenue. This reduction means that the state paid out about $3.7 million dollars less in tax refunds this March than it did in March of 2013. Compared to last year, sales and use tax revenues increased 7.4 percent (or $12.6 million) and individual income tax revenue went up 12.6 percent (or $27.6 million). Only a few minor tax sources, like the Tobacco and Soft Drink Tax, showed a slowdown in revenue from last year. Revenue from the tobacco tax was down significantly from what was expected; almost ten percent less than March of last year and well below the forecast. Similarly, special revenue from the “Soft Drink Tax” was below expectations, down 2.6 percent year-to-date from last year.