By GARRY RAYNO, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD — After adjusting for revenue collected in June but is owed this fiscal year, the state took in nearly $3 billion in revenues for the recently completed fiscal 2021 year.
Despite a year under the COVID-19 pandemic cloud, state revenues were greater than $400 million more than the previous fiscal year, and over $300 million more than budget writers estimated for fiscal 2021.
The new 2022 fiscal year began July 1.
When accounting adjustments were made to general and education trust fund levies for fiscal 2021, the state took in $2.96 billion, just $2.6 million less than the Department of Administrative Services reported on a cash basis early last month.
Official figures will not be available until the official audit is completed usually by the end of December.
However, the adjusted numbers do reflect a reduction of $30.8 million that was collected in fiscal 2021, but auditors said it belonged in the 2020 fiscal year when they did the state’s comprehensive financial 2020 audit.
Overall, the state collected $481.6 million more than in fiscal 2020, and $307.9 million more than the budget plan adopted by lawmakers.
For the 2021 fiscal year, some taxes were well above estimates including business, tobacco and real estate transfer taxes, and some significantly lower, such as the rooms and meals tax and the utility property tax.
Business taxes totaled $991.4 million, which is 26 percent above estimates and 45.5 percent above the prior year.
House budget writers believe business tax revenues are inflated for 2021 due to some companies basing their tax liability on federal Paycheck Protection Program grants they received before the state changed the law to exempt the awards.
The new biennial operating budget approved at the end of June reduces the rates for the business profits and the business enterprise taxes, as well as for the rooms and meals tax and the interest and dividends tax, and begins phasing out that levy in the 2023 fiscal year.
The tobacco tax collected $252.4 million, which is 25.4 percent above estimates and 18.7 percent above fiscal 2020.
The real estate transfer tax totaled $209.8 million, 32.4 percent above the revenue plan, and 32.5 percent above the prior year.
The Lottery Commission had revenues of $142.4 million for fiscal 2021, 29 percent above estimates and 38.3 percent above the prior year.
The interest and dividends tax collected $120 for fiscal 2021, 2.7 percent above plan and 3 percent above the prior year.
On the other side of the ledger, the rooms and meals tax, the state’s second largest revenue producer, collected $335 million, which is below estimates by 13.4 percent, but above prior year collections by 6.8 percent.
The rooms and meals tax was the levy most impacted by the pandemic, but began to turn around the last few months of the 2021 fiscal year and was above estimates for June.
The utility property tax collected $38.2 million for fiscal 2021, down 13.6 percent from estimates and 11.8 percent from the 2020 fiscal year.
Securities revenues were also below estimates for the year.
The Highway Fund, which has suffered the second biggest impact from the pandemic, collected a total of $248.5 million, down $7.5 million from the revenue plan, but slightly above the prior year’s returns.
The fund consists largely of gas tax receipts and vehicle registration revenue.
The Fish and Game Fund produced $15.5 million for the 2021 fiscal year, which is $2.6 million more than estimates, but 3.1 percent below fiscal 2020 returns.
Revenue figures for the first month of the 2022 fiscal year have yet to be released.
Garry Rayno may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.