By GARRY RAYNO, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD — The coronavirus has taken a bite out of state revenues in one of the traditionally largest collection months of the fiscal year.
State revenues showed signs of trouble last month, but this month the damage is more clearly defined.
Major shortfalls for business taxes, as well as the interest and dividend levy and the tourism-sensitive rooms and meals tax resulted in a $76.3 million shortfall for April and $75.3 million deficit for the fiscal year that ends June 30.
For April, the state collected $264.1 million, when budget writers anticipated $340.4 million, which is a 22 percent shortfall.
For the year to date, the state has collected $2.15 billion, when budget writers estimated $2.22 billion would be produced, a 3.4 percent shortfall, and $160.7 million less than what was in state coffers last fiscal year at this time.
State budget writers projected business taxes would produce $147.7 million this month, but the two levies — the business enterprise and business profits taxes — only returned $89.9 million, a $57.9 million shortfall, and $151.6 million less than a year ago.
According to the Department of Revenue Administration, the decrease in business taxes in April is due to decreases in extensions, returns, estimates and notice payments, and an increase in refunds.
Because of the COVID-19 epidemic, an executive order granted business a two-month reprieve for taxes due April 15 for those who qualify, the department notes.
The number of filings for April this year was 50 percent below what was filed in fiscal 2019, the DRA said.
April is also a large collection month for the interest and dividends tax and the returns are as disappointing as the business returns.
The levy produced $26.3 million, $18.1 million below estimates, or 43 percent, and $25 million below last April, a 47 percent reduction.
For the year, the levy has produced $77.3 percent, which is $20.3 million below projections and $19 million below last year.
With most restaurants and hotels, motels and inns closed, the rooms and meals tax also preformed poorly in April, producing $16.1 million, instead of the projected $28.3 million, or a drop of 43 percent. Last year, $26.6 million was collected in April.
For the year to date, the rooms and meals tax has produced $297.6 million, $13.9 million below estimates, but $2.9 million more than a year ago.
The April revenues for the rooms and meals tax were collected in March. The DRA notes for March the collection for rooms was down 54.3 percent from a year ago, and restaurant collection was down 36.8 percent.
The tobacco tax collected $20.5 million, which was above estimates by $5.3 million, but the DRA reports the sale of stamps were down 10 percent in April.
The real estate transfer tax was slightly ahead of estimates for April as were lottery revenues.
State budget officials expect revenue for the fiscal year to be at least $200 million below projections due to the virus’s impact on the state’s economy.
Garry Rayno may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org