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Government, Politics & Issues

Missouri's November income figures signal slight economic uptick and possible end to budget cuts

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 3, 2009 - On the surface, the state of Missouri's revenue numbers for November showed a dramatic change for the better.

Net general revenue collections for the month increased by 6.9 percent compared to those for November 2008. Individual income tax collections increased 2 percent, and sales tax collections were up by 5.1 percent.

But state budget director Linda Luebbering said today that rosy November picture is partly an illusion.

For example: The timing of the latest sales tax collections came in November, while those same collections in 2008 were in October. The result, she said, is that the October 2009 numbers looked worse than they really were, and last month's appeared better.

Still, Luebbering acknowledged that November's numbers were adequate enough that they may have signaled that the state's economic troubles are beginning to bottom out.

As a result, the state budget director said that Missourians may have seen the last of budget cuts for this fiscal year, which runs through next June 30.

"We're going to continue to look at it, but at this time, we don't think (further cuts) will be necessary,'' Luebbering said.

As of Nov. 30, the state's revenue collections for this fiscal year (2010) are down 7.7 percent compared to the last fiscal year (2009). "We are running close to the numbers we expected,'' Luebbering said. "We're running a little behind, but not dramatically."

Her office is predicting that the coming January-June fiscal numbers will be better than a year ago, when they unexpectedly nose-dived just as Gov. Jay Nixon was taking office.

If those predictions stand, Luebbering said, state revenue for this fiscal year should end up about 4 percent below that of the previous year.

Here's the November numbers:

Individual income tax collections

Decreased 6.3 percent for the year, from $2.09 billion last year to $1.96 billion this year. Increased 2.0 percent for the month.
 
Sales and use tax collections

Decreased 7.9 percent for the year from $788.9 million last year to $726.2 million this year.
Increased 5.1 percent for the month.
 
Corporate income and corporate franchise tax collections

Decreased 12.9 percent for the year, from $164.0 million last year to $142.9 million this year.
Decreased 19.8 percent for the month.
 
All other collections

Decreased 1.8 percent for the year, from $167.3 million last year to $164.4 million this year.
Increased 25.8 percent for the month.
 
Refunds

Increased 2.7 percent for the year, from $278.2 million last year to $285.7 million this year.
Decreased 19.3 percent for the month.

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