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2018 State Revenues Off to a Strong Start

February 24, 2018

California’s total revenues of $17.35 billion for January beat the governor’s 2018-19 proposed budget estimates by $2.37 billion, or 15.8 percent, and outpaced 2017-18 Budget Act projections by $1.45 billion, or 9.1 percent, State Controller Betty T. Yee reported on February 13.

Personal income taxes (PIT) and corporation taxes, two of the “big three” sources of General Fund dollars, exceeded estimates for the second consecutive month and are both surpassing assumptions for the fiscal year. For the first seven months of the 2017-18 fiscal year, total revenues of $74.56 billion are higher than expected in the January budget proposal by 4.0 percent, 7.5 percent above the enacted budget’s assumptions, and 11.7 percent higher than the same period in 2016-17.  

For January, PIT receipts of $15.60 billion were $2.25 billion, or 16.9 percent, above the proposed budget’s projections and $1.33 billion ahead of 2017-18 Budget Act estimates. For the fiscal year, PIT receipts of $54.70 billion are higher than anticipated in last summer’s budget by $3.61 billion, or 7.1 percent.

Corporation taxes for January of $551.6 million were $211.3 million, or 62.1 percent, higher than expected in the proposed budget and $143.4 million above the enacted budget’s estimates. This variance is partially because refunds were approximately $38.0 million lower than anticipated. For the fiscal year to date, total corporation tax receipts of $4.81 billion are $1.08 billion, or 28.8 percent, above assumptions in the 2017-18 Budget Act.

Sales tax receipts of $1.01 billion for January were $138.0 million, or 12.0 percent, lower than anticipated in the governor’s budget proposal unveiled last month. Notably, for the fiscal year, sales tax receipts of $13.03 billion are $151.2 million lower than January’s assumptions but $396.6 million, or 3.1 percent, above the enacted budget’s expectations.

Unused borrowable resources through January exceeded revised projections by $7.83 billion, or 30.8 percent. Outstanding loans of $5.64 billion were $5.19 billion, or 47.9 percent, less than the 2018-19 proposed budget estimates and $5.02 billion, or 47.1 percent, less than the 2017-18 Budget Act assumed the state would need by the end of January. The loans were financed entirely by borrowing from internal state funds.

For more details, read the monthly cash report. The Controller’s California Fiscal Focus newsletter  this month examines the impacts of federal tax reform on state taxpayers and ways the health care delivery system can adapt to the changing nature of work.

Sources: California Controller’s Office

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