Missouri's decline in state income may be coming to an end. The figures released today by state Budget Director Linda Luebbering show that state government saw a slight uptick in revenue collections for August, compared to a year ago: $594 million last month, compared to $589.5 million a year ago.
Although up only $4.5 million, the 0.8 percent increase comes after close to two years of monthly declines -- many of them in double digits.
Overall, this fiscal year, which just began July 1, is showing general revenue collections slightly below those of the 2010 fiscal year, from $1.06 billion last year to $1.04 billion this year.
Luebbering said in a telephone interview that the latest numbers reflect "certainly a little bit of improvement,'' which state officials hope will continue over the coming months. She was most heartened by the slight increase in individual income tax collections, which generally reflects payroll taxes paid by people with jobs. Higher collections mean more jobs.
Overall, she remains confident that this 2011 fiscal year will end up with slight growth of 2.3 percent. But she has some concerns.
August is traditionally a back-to-school purchases month, and sales tax collections generally reflect those added purchases. But not so in August 2009 and not so this August, either. "That's a little bit disconcerting, " the budget chief said.
And she is sticking by her prediction that the 2012 fiscal year could be tight -- and $700 million short -- because of slow economic growth and the end of federal stimulus funds to help balance the budget.
Here's the basic breakdown of the latest numbers, as released by the state budget office:
Individual income tax collections
Increased 1.7 percent for the year, from $738.5 million last year to $751.3 million this year.
Increased 3.6 percent for the month.
Sales and use tax collections
Decreased 4.2 percent for the year, from $318.4 million last year to $305.2 million this year.
Increased 0.3 percent for the month.
Corporate income and corporate franchise tax collections
Increased 0.1 percent for the year, from $36.7 million last year to $36.8 million this year.
Decreased 24.1 percent for the month.
All other collections
Increased 20.3 percent for the year, from $68.3 million last year to $82.1 million this year.
Increased 8.2 percent for the month.
Increased 27.9 percent for the year, from $103.2 million last year to $132.0 million this year.
Increased 19.5 percent for the month.
This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon.