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Friday, September 13, 2019

NOTES FROM THE SENATE, SEPTEMBER 13, 2019

SO, WHAT'S WRONG WITH STATE REVENUES?

State revenues came in at a negative -2.8% for August, taking in $50.3 million less in August this year than last. Total revenues were $1.753 billion for the month.

Individual Income Taxes were down $59.3 million or -6.3% for the month. Inside those numbers, Individual withholding payments were down $90.9 million and Individual Income Tax Refunds were down $26.4 million. Individual Tax Return payments were up $4 million.

SALES TAXES STILL POSITIVE

Sales Taxes account for a little less than one third of state revenues when including the auto fees. In August, net Sales Tax Revenues continued pretty strong, increasing 3.4% or $17.3 million.

OTHER REVENUE SOURCES MOSTLY NEGATIVE

Corporate Income Taxes, which finished strong at the end of FY 19, finished negative for the second month down -$12.7 million. Title Ad Valorem Fees and Tag, Title and Fees were both negative at -1.3% and -0.5% respectively.

Tobacco Tax revenues were negative at -5.5% and alcoholic beverages were positive at 9.2%.

FUEL TAXES/FEES UP SLIGHTLY

Motor Fuel Taxes, Impact Fees and Hotel/Motel fees were up only $3.1 million altogether or 1.8% for the month.

TWO MONTH TOTALS ARE ANEMIC

Two months is not necessarily a trend, but it is hard to be enthusiastic with the Year to date (YTD) totals after July and August. Here's a list of categories:

Total Revenues Up $5.3 million
Total Revenues by percent Up 0.2%
Individual Income Taxes Up $13.1 million
Individual Income Taxes by percent Up 0.7%
Corporate Income Taxes Down $44.09 million
Net Sales Taxes Up 2.7%
Tag, Title and Fees Up 6.2%
Title Ad Valorem Tax Up 2.7%
Tobacco Taxes Down -4.5%
Alcoholic Beverages Up 1.5%

UNDER BUDGET-AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SOUTHEAST

It's just the beginning of the Fiscal Year, but you can readily see why Gov. Kemp is being cautious about proceeding to spend the budget passed last session and is calling for 4% cuts in the current fiscal year and 6% cuts in the FY 21 year.

After two months, the state is under budget by some $97 million. The current budget is only showing an increase of a little over 3%, but the state needs about $50 million in new revenue monthly to meet this budget.

Just looking at current revenue numbers from adjoining states that we can access, we can see that not every state is sharing Georgia's lethargic revenue activity.

HOW GEORGIA RANKS IN REVENUE GROWTH

Year to Date Revenue Growth (From states that we could get data from at this time.)

Texas 7.50%
Virginia 7.30%
Alabama 3.60%
Kentucky 2.30%
Arkansas 0. 9%
Georgia 0.2%

12 Month Trailing Average through August

Texas 15.60%
Virginia 7.90%
Alabama 7.20%
Arkansas 7.10%
Kentucky 4.60%
Georgia 4.00%

Whether it is the Income Tax Cut passed last year that started in January or some other factor adversely affecting Georgia's revenue growth, there is little doubt at this point that Georgia has something amiss in its revenue collections.

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