New York State’s tax collections and other receipts during the first four months of the 2011-12 fiscal year were $330 million below projections, according to the July monthly cash report issued yesterday by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. That dip, he noted, “largely evaporates” the bulge in tax collections during the first three months of the year.
“New York’s recovering economy is struggling to reach cruising altitude, and the turbulence from volatile financial markets, a lackluster job market, a struggling housing sector, and political brinksmanship in Washington is creating additional drag,” DiNapoli said. “Each of these factors could impact results through the remainder of the fiscal year. We have to remain vigilant to keep our finances on track. Our fiscal margins are very tight, and we could go off course very quickly.”
The usual cautions apply: growth rates and performance compared to projections during a portion of the year can be heavily influenced by unusual, transitory factors such as audit settlements or delays in federal reimbursement. Nonetheless, the numbers justify a cautious outlook.
Digging into the details, the latest cash report shows personal income tax withholding receipts for July were up about 2.7 percent from the same month in 2010, which represents a slowdown from the 4.5 percent year-to-year growth in withholding in June. Sales and use tax receipts in July were up about 6.3 percent, keeping roughly in line with projections. Like the man said, it’s “tight.”
(Comparing monthly data on a year-to-year basis, also keep in mind that economic growth accelerated in the second half of 2010.)