Tennessee revenues have surpassed estimates by $800 million so far this fiscal year

Tennessee revenues have surpassed estimates by $800 million so far this fiscal year

June 13th, 2016 by Andy Sher in Politics State

Shoppers browse clothing at the North Shore Rock/Creek store in this November photo. Tennessee Finance Commissioner Larry Martin said Friday that state tax collections are running $800 million above estimates for the first 1o months of the 2016 fiscal year.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

This article was updated to correct a typo.

NASHVILLE — Tennessee reaped nearly $800 million more than budget estimates of tax collections during the first ten months of the fiscal year, state Finance Department officials said Friday.

The total for May tax collections on April activity was $41.3 million over estimates. Finance Commissioner Larry Martin said in a statement that the totals, primarily from sales taxes, "reflect significant improvement over this time last year."

While business franchise and excise taxes fell short of May 2015 figures — as well as below last month's budgeted estimate — "all other tax collections, taken as a group, were above the May estimate," Martin said in his statement.

Year-to-date revenues for the first 10 ten months of the 2015-16 fiscal year are running a whopping $798.4 million more than estimates. The fiscal year ends June 30.

The general fund, which pays for most state government functions from public education to prisons, is $735.8 million above budgeted estimates for the year.

Four other funds, including the highway fund, which derives revenue from gas and diesel taxes, were $62.6 million more than the budgeted estimate for the year.

Sales tax collections, Tennessee government's main source of revenue, were $33.5 million more than estimates for May and 6.49 percent higher than May 2015. For the 10-month period, sales taxes are running $345 million higher than estimates. Year-to-date growth rate was 7.81 percent.

Franchise and excise taxes combined were $6.9 million lower than May's budgeted estimate. But for the 10-month period, revenues are still running $286.7 million more than the estimate.

Gasoline and motor fuel revenues for May fell by 1.10 percent compared to last year and were $1.1 million lower than the budgeted estimate of $73.0 million. But over the 10 months, revenues still exceeded estimates by $32 million.

Tobacco taxes were $3.9 million above the May budgeted estimate of $19.9 million. Over the past 10 months, sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products now stand at $14.7 million above budgeted estimates.

Inheritance and estate taxes were $900,000 below May estimates. But again, on a year-to-date basis revenues, they're still $14.2 million more than the budgeted estimate. The tax is being phased out over a four-year period as the result of a 2012 law and this is its last year of existence.

Hall income taxes for May were $6.3 million more than budgeted estimates. For 10 months, the Hall tax is running $50.8 million above estimates. But there's an expiration stamp on the Hall too: During lawmakers' annual session this year, they approved phasing out the tax on interest and investments over a six-year period.

Privilege taxes on businesses, meanwhile were $300,000 more than May estimates. Still, on a year-to-date basis, the revenues are running $23.6 million more than the estimate.

Business taxes were $3.9 million more than the May estimate. For ten months revenues are $14.6 million more than the budgeted estimate.

Contact staff writer Andy Sher at asher@timesfreepress.com or 615-255-0550. Follow on Twitter @AndySher1.


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