Law­mak­ers re­serve judg­ment on tax out­look

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2017 - — From staff re­ports

Vir­ginia’s er­ratic tax rev­enues of­fered few sur­prises in De­cem­ber for state of­fi­cials or leg­is­la­tors, who are still wait­ing for Jan­uary re­sults to gauge how much money will be avail­able for the twoyear bud­get they are sched­uled to ap­prove at the end of Fe­bru­ary.

The De­cem­ber num­bers weren’t as bad as they looked. Rev­enues de­clined 1 per­cent be­cause in­come taxes with­held from pay­roll fell by 5.8 per­cent com­pared with the same month a year ear­lier, but the de­cline was ex­pected be­cause last month in­cluded one less pay­roll de­posit day than the pre­vi­ous year.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe was up­beat about rev­enue col­lec­tions through the first six months of the fis­cal year, which in­creased by 4 per­cent, ahead of the re­vised an­nual fore­cast of 2.9 per­cent. Pay­roll with­hold­ing, ac­count­ing for 63 per­cent of all state rev­enues, were up 4.5 per­cent for the first six months of last year, as well as the re­vised an­nual es­ti­mate of 3.6 per­cent.

“At the half­way point, it’s good news,” House Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Chair­man S. Chris Jones, R-Suf­folk, said Thurs­day.

How­ever, state of­fi­cials and leg­is­la­tors are re­serv­ing judg­ment un­til next month, when they re­ceive Jan­uary re­sults, which will re­flect sales tax col­lec­tions over the Christ­mas holiday in De­cem­ber.

De­cem­ber rev­enues re­flected sales tax col­lec­tions in Novem­ber, the be­gin­ning of the holiday shop­ping sea­son, and showed a year-to-year gain of 10.4 per­cent. How­ever, sales tax col­lec­tions for the fis­cal year still lag the an­nual fore­cast.

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