By GARRY RAYNO, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD — Despite the exploding number of cases of COVID-19, state revenues continue to produce above expectations in figures released this week by the Department of Administrative Services for October.
While rooms and meals tax revenues continue to perform well below expectations, higher than anticipated revenues from business taxes, and the tobacco, interest and dividends and real estate transfer taxes more than make up for the shortfall.
Department of Revenue Administration officials said state revenues continue to be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and extended federal tax filing deadlines.
For October, state revenue totaled $139.4 million, or $9.4 million more than anticipated.
For the first third of the 2021 fiscal year, the state has produced $643.6 million after a $30 million adjustment for money collected this fiscal year that should be attributed to the 2020 fiscal year.
The total revenue is $15.3 million more than anticipated by budget writers in crafting the biennial budget, and $63.7 million more than at the same time a year ago.
Although October is not a large month for business tax returns, the business enterprise and business profits taxes produced $28.3 million, $3.5 million more than estimates, and $4.1 million more than a year ago.
DRA officials say business tax returns are impacted by an increase in payments offset by larger refund requests as well as the federal deadline change.
For the year to date, business taxes total $224.2 million, which is $38.4 million more than estimates and $44.1 million more than a year ago
The rooms and meals tax receipts, however, were down 23.3 percent. The receipts were $28 million for October, down $6.6 million from what budget writers anticipated.
According to the DRA, the tax on meals was down 4.6 percent and on hotels down 18.7 percent for the same month last year.
For the year to date, the rooms and meals tax has produced $117.7 million, $35.8 million less than estimates and $26.5 million less than a year ago.
The tobacco tax continued to produce more than budget writers anticipated at $20.2 million for the month, or $3.1 million above estimates.
The sale of tax stamps was up 18 percent over the same month last year.
For the year to date, the tobacco tax produced $88.5 million, $15 million more than estimates, and $16.1 million more than a year ago.
The real estate transfer tax produced $19.2 million with sales up 17.5 percent over a year ago, and the values were up 32 percent, indicating a hot market.
The levy was $4.5 million more than anticipated and $4.8 million more than a year ago.
For the year to date, the levy produced $65.9 million, which is $600,000 more than the plan and $3 million more than a year ago.
The interest and dividends tax was double what budget writers anticipated for the month, producing $5.6 million. The DRA says the increase is largely attributed to the extended federal tax filing deadline, and increases in returns, estimates and extensions.
To date, the tax produced $43.9 million, which is $20.1 million more than estimates, and $19.8 million more than a year ago.
For the month of October, liquor commission and securities revenues were above estimates, as were the insurance and beer taxes and court fines and fees.
Along with the rooms and meals tax receipts, revenues from the lottery commission and communications tax were below estimates for the month.
The highway fund was also below estimates as the gas tax is producing less than anticipated due largely to the pandemic.
The highway fund produced $21.3 million for October, down $300,000.
The Fish and Game fund was up for the month, producing $3.5 million, $700,000 more than anticipated.
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 and with the $30 million adjustment in revenues this fiscal year the shortfall would be about $114 million.
Garry Rayno may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.