Pennsylvania’s Fiscal Health: A Close Look at December’s General Fund Revenue

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PENNSYLVANIA — In the complex world of state finances, understanding the fiscal health of Pennsylvania requires a close look at the numbers. In December, Pennsylvania collected $3.7 billion in General Fund revenue, falling short of the anticipated amount by $69.6 million or 1.8 percent, as reported by Revenue Secretary Pat Browne.

This brings the fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections to $19.8 billion, which falls short of the estimate by $70.7 million, or 0.4 percent. This minor shortfall is within the acceptable range of 2 percent that the Department of Revenue aims for in its year-to-date revenue forecasts.

A Breakdown of The Numbers

December’s sales tax receipts totaled $1.2 billion, surpassing the estimate by $9.1 million. However, year-to-date sales tax collections total $7.2 billion, falling short of the anticipated amount by $116.2 million, or 1.6 percent.

Personal income tax (PIT) revenue in December was $1.3 billion, falling below the estimate by $32.6 million. The year-to-date PIT collections now total $7.5 billion, which is $122.7 million, or 1.6 percent, below the estimate.

Corporation tax revenue for December came in at $889.5 million, falling short of the estimate by $50.4 million. However, year-to-date corporation tax collections total $2.7 billion, surpassing the estimate by $83.5 million, or 3.2 percent. The decrease in December’s corporation tax collections could imply taxpayers overpaid earlier in the year or that profits for 2023 were weaker than expected.

Other notable figures from December include inheritance tax revenue, which totaled $117.9 million – $0.8 million above the estimate. Realty transfer tax revenue was $45.4 million, falling short of the estimate by $0.8 million. Other General Fund tax revenue, including cigarette, malt beverage, liquor, and gaming taxes, totaled $162.1 million, $2.9 million below the estimate.

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Non-Tax Revenue and The Motor License Fund

Non-tax revenue for the month totaled $55.5 million, surpassing the estimate by $7.1 million. The year-to-date total stands at $553.7 million, which is $79.8 million, or 16.8 percent, above the estimate.

The Motor License Fund, which includes gas and diesel taxes as well as other license, fine, and fee revenues, received $235.7 million for the month, $15.4 million above the estimate. Fiscal year-to-date collections for this fund total $1.6 billion, surpassing the estimate by $5.4 million, or 0.3 percent.

In the grand scheme of Pennsylvania’s fiscal health, these numbers paint a picture of a state managing its finances within a reasonable margin of its estimates, ensuring the continued provision of essential services to the residents of the Commonwealth.

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