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Friday, December 09, 2016

NOTES FROM THE SENATE, DECEMBER 9, 2016

DECEMBER REVENUES - MORE OF THE SAME

After the first three months of the fiscal year were very slow, possibly reflecting refunds still dribbling out of the Revenue Department, October and November have "perked up," but not to the level of aggressive growth experienced during the last fiscal year. November revenues totaled $1.719 billion, showing an increase of $75.9 million or 4.6%. Taking out the HB 170 fuel taxes/fees, the increase totaled 3.28%.

The all-important Individual Income Tax category, at $863.8 million, showed a 3.9% increase, ahead of the four-month average. Withholding payments were up $49 million or 5.9%, but refunds also were up $12.6 million or 24%. Corporate revenues had a good month, growing $9.4 million on receipts of $17.0 million.

Gross Sales Taxes were up 2.2% for November and, with refunds down $11.3 million, net state Sales Taxes totaled 5.9% or $25.4 million on $457.4 million in overall state Sales Taxes collected. Title Ad Valorem Taxes for November were up $9.7 million or 14.0%. Tobacco taxes were up 5.1%, but Alcoholic Beverages collections were negative at -1.0%.

FUEL TAXES/FEES CONTINUE STEADY

HB 170 revenues continue to be reported in a steady stream. The fuel excise tax was up $5.4 million or 3.7%. Highway Impact fees were up 9.4% or only $61,000. The Hotel/Motel fee increased $1.07 million or 7.3%. All totaled, HB 170 revenues were up $6.5 million on total collections of $167.1 million.

YEAR-TO-DATE COLLECTIONS GENERALLY POSITIVE

After five months of the fiscal year, the state is showing a 4.8% increase on total revenues of $8.798 billion. That's $399.1 million ahead on FY16 for the five months. This figure includes new HB 170 funds. Growth measured without the HB 170 funds only grew 3.62%.

The Individual Income Tax category has taken in $4.454 billion and gained $138.7 million but is still showing a relatively low growth rate of 3.2%. Corporate Income Taxes have gained $25.6 million or 11.5% YTD.

Gross state Sales Taxes took in $4.434 billion total, gaining a gross amount of $74.2 million or 1.7% overall. After local distribution and refunds of $38.9 million, net state Sales Taxes show 4.4% growth or $98.4 million YTD.

Title Ad Valorem Taxes show an increase of $50.1 million or 13.1%. Tobacco taxes are growing 2.3% and Alcoholic Beverages increased 1.9%.

HB 170 FUNDS STEADY

The three categories of fuel taxes/fees coming in totaled $818.0 million YTD. That's an increase of $95.2 million over last year, although this year contains one additional month of fuel taxes reported over last year.

AHEAD OF BUDGET

So far after the five months reported, revenues exceed budgeted amounts by $275.7 million. Taking off fuel excise taxes and fees, that increase shrinks to $120.3 million. By Georgia's previous standards of 5% plus growth net of fuel, that's a little slow, but when you compare to other states and the problems they are having with revenues, we can only be thankful for our Blessings.

The 12-month trailing average we watch now shows 7.5% growth on all collections, but that number includes 7 months from the previous year - all boom months, it seems. Still, Georgia is performing very successfully, gaining growth and with an economy that is creating new jobs and keeping the state moving ahead.

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