State revenue collections holding up — so far
I’m a pessimist by nature, and my pessimism often surfaces when I think about Wisconsin’s fiscal situation. For months now I’ve been worried that the downward trend in the economic estimates made by national forecasters was going to result in a downward revision to the state revenue estimates made in May for the 2011-13 biennium. The last quarterly economic report from the Department of Revenue (DOR) reinforced my fears because it called for slower growth than the report that preceded the biennial revenue projections.
Fortunately, the latest revenue collection figures released last Thursday by the Department of Revenue (DOR) suggest that my fears might be unfounded – or at least premature. The new figures from DOR show that tax collections over the first four months of the current fiscal year (July through October) were up 3.7 percent — compared to the same period in 2010. For the full year, the May projections forecast that General Fund tax collections would grow by 3.0 percent. I’m very encouraged that tax revenue growth for the first four months is a bit above the anticipated growth rate.
On the other hand, my pessimistic leanings compel me to note that tax collections in October were virtually unchanged from October 2010. If that’s the beginning of a trend, Wisconsin could fall well short of revenue projections for the fiscal year and the full biennium (but even a pessimist should try to avoid reading trends into just a month or two of data).