State revenues are on the upswing, but it’s not enough money to prevent the gutting of state government and public education this coming fiscal year.
According to State Treasurer Scott Meacham, May revenues were higher than last year and beat the official estimate. The revenues have allowed the state to pay back cash funds that were used to allocate money this fiscal year, Meacham said, and left $6.7 million for next fiscal year.
“As we look back at collections throughout the fiscal year, it is becoming more apparent that our recovery started in February and that trend continues this month,” Meacham said in a press release.
Meacham pointed out that May revenues were $387.7 million, which is $21.6 million or 6 percent above the prior year and $27.5 million or 7.8 percent above the official estimate.
Oil and natural gross productions were, according to Meacham, significantly higher at $56.2, a 106.5 percent yearly increase and a staggering 377.6 percent above the estimate. State tax revenues were up around 7 percent over last year but only 0.5 percent above the estimate.
There was a decline in personal income tax. Also, Meacham pointed out that corporate income tax was zero for the month after tax refunds were paid. Motor vehicle taxes were also down.
So the revenue news remains mixed, though there are reasons for optimism. It remains to be seen if the good news will continue, and, if so, at a fast enough pace to make any real impact.
The state’s two largest school districts have announced the elimination of teaching positions for the fall, state employees face furloughs and programs for the mentally ill have been cut because of budget cuts.
One-time federal stimulus money has helped the state budget this coming fiscal year, leaving many financial analysts to wonder what will happen in fiscal years 2012 and 2013 when the funds are no longer available. Will state government and education continue to face steep and damaging cuts in the years ahead despite increased revenues? If so, is that really a recovery?