By GARRY RAYNO, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD — Business taxes and the rooms and meals tax continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as state revenues are down about 7 percent over the revenue plan developed by budget officials.
While revenues were more than expected for the first month of the 2021 fiscal year, they were $8.4 million below estimates for August due largely to deficits in business and rooms and meals taxes.
State revenues were $120.9 million for August, while the budget writers’ plan called for $129.3 million.
Although August does not produce a large amount of money for the state or in business tax revenues, business taxes were $3.2 million below estimates of $15.2 million, and rooms and meals revenues were $10.2 million below estimates of $41.2 million.
Business taxes were $4.2 million less than a year ago, with the deficit due mainly to return payments, lower estimates and extensions.
For the year to date, however, business taxes produced $50.3 million, which is $12 million more than a year ago, and $14.6 million more than budget estimates.
The rooms and meals tax has produced $55 million for the first two months of the fiscal year, down $22.3 million from budget estimates and $17.6 million from a year ago.
According to Department of Revenue Administration officials, the revenues reflect a 14 percent decline in meals and 33 percent decline in hotel stays.
Tobacco revenues continue to produce more than anticipated, producing $23.6 million, $3.2 million more than the budget plan and $6 million more than a year ago.
Sales of tax stamps reflect an increase of 16 percent over last year, according to the DRA.
Most other taxes are about on target including the real estate transfer tax which reflects an increase in transactions of 14 percent over last year.
For the first two months of the 2021 fiscal year, state revenues total $254.2 million, which is $15.8 million more than last year, and $17 million more than the budget plan for fiscal 2011.
Also the highway and fish and game funds were both down slightly below estimates for August after producing more than the budget plan in July.
Earlier this summer, the House Ways and Means Committee estimated the revenue shortfall would be from $125 million to $199 million for the 2020 fiscal year and from $230 million to $395 million for fiscal year 2021.
Last month, Sununu said his office believes the shortfall would be $182 million for fiscal year 2020 and $355 million for 2021.
Unaudited figures released at the end of July indicate the revenue deficit for the 2020 fiscal year is $144 million.
Garry Rayno may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.