October 8, 2013 9:35:23 AM
JACKSON -- Mississippi tax collections for the first quarter of the state's fiscal year -- July through August -- are 5.9 percent above the estimate and $124.3 million, or 12.1 percent, above what was collected during the same period a year ago.
The estimate -- made by legislative leaders upon advice of the state's financial experts -- is important because it represents the amount of money available for the Legislature to appropriate. If collections for the year fall below the estimate, the governor could be forced to make cuts or to dip into the state's reserves.
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports Mississippi revenue collections were $19.6 million -- about 4.1 percent -- above the revenue estimate for September and $64.3 million above for the first quarter of the fiscal year.
However, individual income tax collections are $27.7 million, or 14.4 percent, below the estimate during September. For the first quarter, individual income tax collections are $41.9 million, or 9.9 percent, below the estimate.
Corporate tax collections more than offset the less-than-anticipated individual income tax collections.
For the month of September, corporate tax collections are $32.3 million, or 52 percent, above the estimate and $49.4 million, or 53.5 percent, above the estimate for the first quarter.
State economist Darrin Webb said of the strong showing for corporate tax collections, "It appears estimated payments are up, suggesting corporations feel they are having a good year."
Businesses make payments based on their anticipated revenue.
Plus, Webb said, "There have also been more intense efforts to collect unpaid taxes and these visible efforts may be promoting increased compliance."
Of the drop in individual income tax collections, Webb said, "I think income growth has softened this year relative to last. While we are seeing employment rising, I suspect much of the growth has been in part-time jobs and low-pay jobs."
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