/State revenue up for first quarter of fiscal year, but still lagging many other states, study finds

State revenue up for first quarter of fiscal year, but still lagging many other states, study finds

Recent numbers released by the Legislative Budget Committee show that all major tax categories, except for use tax, have seen an increase in tax collections over the past year. Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, along with other state political leaders, have pointed to the increase in revenue collection over the past year as evidence of a strong economy. Bryant responded to Wednesday’s revenue report via social media. Bryant stated, “Great year in Mississippi revenue.” According to state financial experts, almost $40 million more was collected in September than expected. The year’s collections total $77 million, which is 6.4 percent more than the estimate. Because collections have been slow in recent years, experts had to make a cautious revenue estimate. The governor stated last month via social media that Mississippi is in a better fiscal position than ever before in its history. The Pew Trust, an organization that studies state policies and trends, released a study that found Mississippi had not recovered its pre-2008 peak revenue collection. It was adjusted for inflation. According to the study, Mississippi collected 1 percent less revenue than it did at its peak before the 2008 recession. The state had lower buying power after the Great Recession. Louisiana received 2 percent less after inflation adjustment, while other states that are adjacent to Mississippi earned more: Arkansas, Tennessee, 15.7 %, and Alabama, 0.3%. Both Pew and Tax Foundation both cite federal tax cuts that were passed under the Trump administration as a key factor in increasing revenue for states. According to the Pew study, “Revenue collection has been boosted in part thanks to the 2017 federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – which reduced federal income tax rates and increased the amount of individuals and businesses owing state tax collectors.” The federal law did not reduce the income tax rate, but it increased the number of collectors. According to the Tax Foundation, states, including Mississippi, comply with federal law at least partially on deductions but not federal law when it comes to reducing or increasing income tax rates. Darrin Webb the state economist recently stated that federal changes had positively impacted Mississippi’s revenue collection. According to Pew and Tax Foundation, states have also benefited from the 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing them to levy a 7 percent tax on online retail purchases. This is called use taxes. The first quarter of the current fiscal, which began July 1, saw Mississippi’s use tax collections drop 7.7 percent to $5.3 million. However, tax collections for the fiscal year ended June 30 were up 23.7 per cent or $62.4million. The Supreme Court’s ruling that allowed states to collect internet sales taxes was soon followed by the fiscal year. According to the September report, Mississippi’s corporate income taxes collections have increased 19 percent, or $17.3million, due at least partially to the federal law change. Both the sales tax collections as well as the personal income tax collections are the two biggest sources of state revenue. They have also increased in the first quarter. The sales tax collections rose by a modest $9.6million or 2.3 percent, while personal income tax collections increased by 4.3 percent or $19.8million. The quarter ended flat with casino tax collections falling 0.50 percent, or $169 703