/State revenue rebounds for fiscal year, could bode well for 2019 session

State revenue rebounds for fiscal year, could bode well for 2019 session

The Legislative Budget Committee recently compiled a revenue report that showed state revenue collections increased by $39.1million, or 0.69 percent over the amount collected in the previous fiscal year. The total collections for the fiscal year just ended were $5.69 trillion. The state had experienced little growth in the past two years or even a negative rate of growth for one year. It could be a boon for the 2019 Legislative Session, when lawmakers will be preparing a budget for education and health care. This comes after three sessions in which legislators had to make drastic cuts, including 10 percent for many state agencies. This led to layoffs and reductions of services. If you only look at the revenue collected by Department of Revenue, the recent fiscal year’s revenue growth is even more impressive. The majority of state revenue comes from DOR, which collects general tax levies such as those on retail sales, personal income and corporate income. It also includes revenues from casinos, tobacco and beer, and other sources. These Department of Revenue collections increased $130 million, or 2.6 percent, to $5.49 trillion. Other revenue sources, which are not provided by the Department of Revenue, like settlement funds collected in 2018 by the Office of the Attorney General, contributed to the lower 0.69 percent growth in state revenue. It is possible that DOR collections, the main source of state revenue, will continue to improve in 2019. This could be a boon for the 2019 session. Rep. John Read (R-Gautier), who is currently in his second year of House Appropriations chair, stated that he was pleased with the increase in collections. He stated, “My first year as appropriations chair, we were cutting up until the last day (fiscal), year. It is very painful. I don’t care which side you are on …. “I’m eager to see how July collections look. “I hope we can get off on a positive note for the new fiscal year. Give us some breathing space.” It is common for state revenue collections year after year to increase. Except in exceptional circumstances, growth is usually less than 5 percent. Two years of growth exceeding 10 percent were achieved in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina destroyed the country. As the casino industry grew, multiple years of growth above the average occurred in the 1990s. Revenues dropped by approximately 5 percent during the Great Recession that began in late 2008. They then started to rebound after a second consecutive year. However, the recovery slowed in fiscal year 2016-17. The Legislature began to impose tax cuts during those years. About 50 tax cuts have been passed by the Legislature, which has taken more than $300 millions from the state’s coffers. The state general fund will be spending an additional $415million over the next 10 year due to the largest tax cut, which was passed in 2016. Gov. Phil Bryant, and Lt. Governor. Tate Reeves and Phil Bryant have claimed that the tax cuts will lead to a better economy and eventually a rise in revenue collection. Others claim that the state cannot afford tax cuts when it has so many pressing needs such as transportation, health care, and education. Senator David Blount (D-Jackson) stated that the annual state impact of the 2016 tax cut bill will be $415million. “The state cannot catch up to the cost to tax cut bill’s economic growth,” said Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson. Many tax cuts were targeted at businesses. The state saw revenue growth in the last fiscal year. However, corporate tax collections reached $572.3 million. This is a far cry from $714.1 million three-years ago, before the tax cuts. However, overall collections are higher than they were three-years ago.