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Missouri's November revenue collection shows economic slowdown

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Even as the Missouri General Assembly considers tax breaks for Boeing, the latest state revenue numbers indicate a slowdown in the state’s economic recovery.

Missouri’s general revenue collections for November were up only 1 percent, compared to November 2012, putting the fiscal year-to-date increase slightly below what had been estimated when the General Assembly and Gov. Jay Nixon’s staff crafted the state’s current budget.

This fiscal year’s budget, which runs through June 30, is based on projected growth of 3.1 percent.

But the state’s budget office reported this week that “the 2014 fiscal year-to-date net general revenue collections increased 2.2 percent compared to fiscal year 2013, from $3.04 billion last year to $3.11 billion this year.”

State Budget Director Linda Luebbering acknowledged in an interview Wednesday about the November numbers, “That kind of growth for a month isn’t good.”

But she emphasized that state government continues to benefit from the unexpected surplus when the previous fiscal year ended last June 30. That extra money means that “we could actually be flat’’ in revenue collection and still balance this fiscal year’s budget, Luebbering said.

She also noted that Nixon has continued to withhold some of this year’s budgeted allocations, mainly in capital improvements, until it’s clear that this fiscal year’s budget will be balanced as mandated by the state constitution.

Missouri’s November revenue collections showed declines in two of the state’s largest sources of income; there was a drop of 1.9 percent in individual income-tax receipts and a decline of 3.1 percent in sales tax revenue.

Luebbering attributed the sales tax drop to one less business day this November, compared to November 2012. That decline is less of a concern that the decrease in income-tax collections. “We’re certainly looking at that with a lot of interest,’’ she said.

“I think we had a down month,’’ the budget director concluded. “I think we’ll see a better December.”

Here is the state’s general-revenue breakdown for November 2013.

GROSS COLLECTIONS BY TAX TYPE

Individual income tax collections

  • Increased 2.6 percent for the year, from $2.13 billion last year to $2.19 billion this year.
  • Decreased 1.9 percent for the month.

Sales and use tax collections

  • Increased 2.9 percent for the year from $780.8 million last year to $803.2 million this year.
  • Decreased 3.1 percent for the month.

Corporate income and corporate franchise tax collections

  • Increased 31.9 percent for the year, from $136.9 million last year to $180.6 million this year.
  • Increased 134.3 percent for the month.

All other collections

  • Decreased 30.2 percent for the year, from $202.3 million last year to $141.2 million this year.
  • Increased 0.8 percent for the month.

Refunds

  • Decreased 3.2 percent for the year, from $210.6 million last year to $203.8 million this year.
  • Decreased 24.4 percent for the month.
Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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