Revenue Tracker: 2012-13 Ends with Modest $57 Million Surplus

Monthly General Fund revenue collections during the 2012-13 fiscal year came in below projections almost as often as they came in above. All told, year-end receipts totaled $57 million, or 0.2%, more than the annual estimate. The chart below shows monthly General Fund collections in the now-completed fiscal year, with the black line tracking the cumulative annual surplus or deficit from month to month.

2012-13 General Fund Revenue Surplus/(Deficit) by Month

Midway through the fiscal year, it looked like the state was on track for a sizeable year-end revenue surplus, but lower-than-expected collections from January through March, along with a shortfall in June, brought collections closer to estimate.

Below is PBPC's monthly Revenue Tracker for the second half of the 2012-13 Fiscal Year.

Download the Revenue Tracker for the full 2012-13 fiscal year.

2012-13 Revenue Tracker

Estimate to Actual, Fiscal Year 2012-13
  Jan 13 Feb 13 Mar 13 Apr 13 May 13 Jun 13 Total
Estimate $2,355,100 $1,677,200 $4,219,800 $3,557,900  $1,991,100  $2,732,300 $28,590,000
Actual $2,336,332 $1,629.465 $4,150,358 $3,589,552  $2,026,237  $2,686,936 $28,646,946
Monthly Difference ($18,768) ($47,735) ($69,422) $31,652 $35,137 ($45,364)  
Cumulative Difference $152,698 $104,963  $35,521 $67,173 $102,310 $56,946  
Fiscal Year-to-Date Percent Difference from Estimate 0.2%
Comparison to Fiscal Year 2011-12
  January February March April May June Total
Actual FY 2011-12 $2,170,813 $1,703,244 $4,061,174 $3,421,816  $1,892,790  $2,783,072  $27,678,002
Actual FY 2012-13 $2,336,332 $1,629,465 $4,150,358  $3,589,552 $2,026,237 $2,686,936  $28,646,946
Monthly Difference $165,519 ($73,779)  $89,184  $167,736  $133,447 ($96,136)  
Cumulative Difference $748,492 $674,713  $763,897  $931,633 $1,065,080 $968,944  
Fiscal Year-to-Date Percent Difference from 2011-12 3.5%

Overall tax collections ended the fiscal year $13 million, or 0.05%, below official estimates. There was a bit of variation among the state’s different tax streams.

Sales tax collections missed estimates by $326 million, or 3.5%, for the fiscal year. In 11 of the 12 months in 2012-13, sales tax collections fell below estimate — a sign that the economy was not growing as quickly as had been anticipated back in June 2012. Compared to the prior year, sales tax receipts grew by only 1.4%. In a typical economic expansion, sales tax collections would grow by 3% to 5% a year. While the sale of motor vehicles made up only 13% of total sales tax revenue in 2012-13, it accounted for 38% of the shortfall in the tax.

Corporate income taxes ended the year $275 million, or 5.6%, higher than expected. The corporate net income tax (CNIT) accounted for most of this surplus — $219 million. CNIT was up almost 20% from the previous year, due in part to continued strong corporate profits. Another factor may have to do with additional taxes paid in 2012-13 by companies that took advantage of 100% bonus depreciation in 2011. This temporary federal tax incentive, which Pennsylvania also adopted, allowed businesses to write off the cost of equipment in the year of acquisition rather than stretching it out over a period of years as is normally done.

Personal income tax (PIT), the state’s largest single revenue source, exceeded estimate by $86 million, or 0.8%. Realty transfer tax (RTT) ended the year $19 million, or 6%, above estimate, as the real estate market began to slowly recover from the aftermath of the housing crisis and Great Recession. Both of these taxes showed healthy growth from the prior fiscal year. PIT increased by $571 million, or 5.3%, while RTT increased by $47 million, or 15.9%, from 2011-12 collection levels.

Liquor taxes — totaling $311 million — and profits from the state liquor stores — $80 million in 2012-13 — came in on target. Liquor tax collections increased $13 million, or 4.4%, from the prior year.

Cigarette, beer, and table game taxes came in a combined $53 million below estimate for the fiscal year. The collections of all three of these taxes declined from 2011-12 levels.

Inheritance tax collections were $17 million lower than estimate in 2012-13, but $18 million higher than in 2011-12.