By GARRY RAYNO, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD — State revenues for August are slightly above target, but business taxes, the driver of revenue surpluses the past few years, are below estimates as were all the state’s major revenue producers.
For the second month of the 2024 fiscal year, state revenues totaled $146.1 million, which is $3.6 million more than estimates, but $1.7 million less than a year ago.
For the first two months of fiscal 2024, the state has collected $264.3 million, which is $300,000 more than a year ago, but $600,000 less than budget writers estimates.
While August is not a large month for business tax collection, they returned $18.1 million, which is below estimates by $3.1 million with the loss from the business enterprise tax, not the business profits tax which continues to produce more than anticipated. A year ago, business taxes produced $24 million.
For the year to date, business taxes totaled $57.9 million, which is $200,000 more than a year ago, and $1.4 million less than estimates.
“The largest contributor to the decreased Business Tax revenue was the timing of early estimates by corporations,” the Department of Revenue Administration said. “Returns filed this month departed significantly from the initial allocation of business tax revenue. This resulted in both large adjustments to the BPT and BET accounts, which moved revenue from BET to BPT, as well as proportionately more BET refunds.”
The largest tax contributor for August, the rooms and meals tax, was also below estimates for the month, producing $34.9 million, which is $1.2 million below estimates, but $200,000 more than a year ago.
For the year to date, the levy has produced $65.5 million.
According to the DRA, the figures for August reflect a 2.7 percent increase in taxable meals, but a .6 percent decline in hotel sales from a year ago.
The real estate transfer tax was also below estimates for the month, producing $21.1 million, which is $700,000 below estimates, but $500,000 more than a year ago.
However, the levy produced $41.3 million for the year to date, which is $3.2 million less than a year ago.
According to the DRA, the number of transactions was down 10.4 percent and values were 14.2 percent less than a year ago.
The tobacco tax continues to perform below estimates by $3.7 million, producing $17.2 million, which is $5.2 million less than a year ago. For the year to date, the levy is $6.9 million less than a year ago at $33.9 million.
Other revenues below estimates for the month were transfers from the Liquor Commission, and the communications, beer and utility property taxes, and returns from securities.
Two revenue generators did perform well above estimates, transfers from the Lottery Commission, and the other category of small fees and taxes and interest earned on financial accounts.
The “other” account produced almost $9 million more than estimates at $12.9 million.
The DRA credits the timing of interest income and receipts exceeding the plan for the revenue surplus.
The Lottery Commission produced $16.4 million for the Education Trust Fund, which is $3.2 million more than estimates, but $2 million less than a year ago.
The DRA says the additional money is due to the PowerBall Jackpot run in August.
Other levies slightly above estimates for the month include the interest and dividends, and insurance taxes, and court fines and fees.
The Highway Fund produced $20.4 million for August, which is below estimates by $700,000, and $200,000 less than a year ago.
For the year, the fund, largely comprised of the gas tax revenue and vehicle registrations, produced $41 million, which is $2.4 million less than estimates and $600,000 less than a year ago.
The Fish and Game Fund collected $2.1 million in August, which is $100,000 less than estimates and $300,000 less than a year ago.
For the year, the fund received $4.2 million, which is $200,000 less than estimates, and $100,000 less than a year ago.
Garry Rayno may be reached at email@example.com.