Well, if you were looking for something to cheer you up to enjoy the Christmas Holidays… for some of us, November revenues did the trick. Net revenues (excluding Fuel Taxes) for November topped out at 7.5% on total revenues of $1.64 billion, an increase of $109.7 million over November of 2014.
Individual Income Tax revenues rebounded from a tepid month in October to a robust increase of 11.2% over November, 2014, clearing some $83.6 million on totals of $831.3 million. Within the category, Withholding payments were up 11.5% or $86 million, most of the month’s increase for total revenues. Refunds were also up $21.6 million.
Net Sales Tax revenues continued near recent levels, near flat or, as in this month, slightly negative at -1.3%, or -$5.7 million. It is important to note that the loss of the General Treasury sales tax category of the 1% sales tax on fuel now going to DOT amounts to approximately $15 million a month. So if this were last year, the net sales tax number would have been slightly positive. Also important to remember is the fact that auto sales taxes are now reported as one-time fees and are not added into sales tax numbers. So, booming new car sales are not helping sales tax numbers.
Corporate Taxes were up $5 million and both Tobacco and Alcoholic Taxes were negative at -2.2% and -1.4% respectively. Title/Ad Valorem Fees came in positive at 6.8% or $4.3 million.
FUEL TAXES CONTINUE TO MEET EXPECTATIONS WITH LOWER PUMP PRICES
The new Excise Tax on Fuel, replacing fuel sales taxes and including 1% Sales tax on fuel previously directed to the General Budget, is showing consistency that was expected with the passage of HB 170.
Fuel Excise Taxes YTD $61,362.000
Highway impact Fees YTD 649,000
Hotel/Motel Fees YTD 14,733,000
Total for November $76,744,000
YEAR TO DATE REVENUES CONTINUE STRONG
State Revenues continue to be very strong showing a YTD with a gain of $699.5 million in total revenues. To date, revenues are ahead of budget for FY16 by approximately $250 million after five months.
HB170 REVENUES YEAR TO DATE TOTAL $301 MILLION
The revenues coming from the passage of HB 170 which will flow to the Department of Transportation will be appropriated in the 2016 Amended Budget and road projects and improvements should begin as early as spring/summer of 2016. My estimates for fuel taxes reflect the entire increase over 2014 figures. The Fuel Excise Tax has returned $241.8 million, the Highway Impact Fee $3.5 million and the Hotel/Motel Fee, $56.5 million, for a total, as of November, of $301.8 million including existing sales taxes on fuel now going to DOT instead of the general treasury as before. This is really a four month total since little of the new fees were reported till August.
SO, HOW’RE WE DOING?
With the nervousness over the world economy, interest rates headed north and sales tax collections flat nationwide, it is either reassuring or scary to compare Georgia’s progress to other states and make fair comparisons.
So, here are some numbers to compare to Georgia’s 5.4% net growth rate in revenues through November:
Through November comparisons:
Texas MINUS 3.5% Growth
Louisiana MINUS 3.6%
Through October (Last Month we have results)
North Carolina 11.7% (fishy)
South Carolina 7.7%
So, Georgia is better than most, a lot better than some. This prepares us for the much awaited “Ten Reasons to be Optimistic for 2016” column that is due around the first of the year. One thing is pretty clear at this point, Georgia is Blessed and has much to be thankful for this Holiday Season!