State's revenues down in January


Vermont's tax collections are behind their monthly and year-to-date targets, according to January's revenue report from the Agency of Administration.

Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding remains optimistic about the state's fiscal future, however. In a news release announcing January revenues, he noted year-to-date shortfalls - 0.28 percent in the General Fund, 0.59 percent in the Transportation Fund and 0.78 percent in the Education Fund.

The General Fund delivered 1.41 percent less than expected, the Transportation Fund fell short by 4.43 percent and the Education Fund was 4.25 percent shy of its target.

Personal income taxes carried nearly two-thirds of the General Fund's weight at $93 million. But about $96.6 million had been expected. Spaulding said the underperformance in this revenue stream is worth watching.

"It is not wise to read too much into a single month's results," Spaulding said, "but the Shumlin Administration will be keeping a close eye on the various revenue components, especially the Personal Income Tax, to detect any longer term trends away from projections."

Spaulding also noted relatively strong performance in the motor vehicle purchase and use tax - 10.82 percent above collections this time last year. That year-to-date improvement was not helped in January, however, when the motor vehicle purchase and use tax brought 4 percent less than expected into the Transportation and Education funds.

Real estate transfer taxes did a similar switch: Up nearly 14 percent from year-to-date totals in the prior fiscal year, January collections on property transfers were nonetheless about 18 percent lower than forecast in the General Fund.

Corporate income tax receipts, at $4.42 million in January, were more than 80 percent above projections. However, that is more than 20 percent below its year-to-date performance from the last fiscal year.

"Right now, the General Fund is on target for the year and running a little more than 3 percent ahead of last year," Spaulding said. "That is positive."


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