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Friday, January 11, 2019

NOTES FROM THE SENATE, JANUARY 11, 2019

DECEMBER REVENUES NEGATIVE-BUT EXPECTED

State revenues for December came in -4.5%, below December revenues from 2017. Last year's December revenues were up abnormally and the state experienced an extremely high month. This same spike was played out across the country as taxpayers reacted to the federal tax cut and the end of some exemptions. Many believed that paying their taxes before Jan. 1, 2018 would allow them to claim deductions before they went away under the tax cut changes.

INDIVIDUAL INCOME TAXES

This category is the one reflecting the huge difference and came in at -9.3% but produced $1.143 billion in revenues.

SALES TAXES SHOW A STRONG MONTH

Net Sales Taxes continued the recent robust numbers coming in at 6.1% growth for December over last December. Total Sales Tax Revenues showed $1.040 billion for the month.

OTHER CATEGORIES GENERALLY NEGATIVE

Corporate Income Taxes were negative at -3.1%. Tag, Title and Fees were down -8.4% and Title Ad Valorem Taxes were negative at -5.1%. Tobacco and Alcoholic Beverages were both negative at -3.8% and -2.2% respectively.

FUEL TAXES/FEES SLIGHTLY UP

Fuel Taxes were up $972,000 while Impact Fees increased slightly, $164,000 and Hotel/Motel fees increased $353,000. Total Fuel fees and taxes were up $1.48 million for the month.

YEAR TO DATE NUMBERS SLIP

Given that November was slightly negative and December was at -4.5%, it is not surprising that the cumulative numbers would slide backward. So, at the end of the first 6 months of the Fiscal Year, state revenues are up 4.6%. While not up in the 6% level as before, 4.6% is a very strong level of increase.

OUTSIDE OF SALES TAXES, REVENUES YTD ARE MIXED

Individual Income taxes are at 3.9% YTD, while corporate Income Taxes are up 19.7%. Net Sales Taxes are up 7.0%, a very strong year so far. Tag, Title and Fees are dead flat at 0.0% and Ad valorem Taxes are negative at -6.8%, following a trend. Tobacco taxes are flat at 0.1% and Alcoholic Beverages are slightly negative at -0.8% YTD.

FUEL TAXES/FEES SHOWING HEALTHY GAIN

Fuel Tax collections are up YTD $23.1 million while Impact Fees are up $855,000 and Hotel/Motel fees increased $2.25 million. The total increase going to transportation YTD is $26.2 million.

ALTOGETHER, GEORGIA STILL SHOWING A STRONG YEAR

For the first 6 months of the Fiscal Year, state revenues have totaled $11.818 billion, an increase of $516. 9 million for the year. Revenues exceed the budgeted amount by some $92 million. This comes after the $270 million was appropriated for disaster relief in the special session.

So, January's revenues will tell us if Georgia had a strong Christmas buying period (Sales Taxes are reported a month behind). We also will learn whether our economy and revenues continue at the high mark from earlier this Fiscal Year or continue the recent slide.

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