September 2, 2014

August State Revenue Collections $17.8 Million Less Than Anticipated

Pennsylvania collected $1.8 billion in General Fund revenue in August, which was $17.8 million, or 1 percent, less than anticipated, Secretary of Revenue Daniel Meuser reported Tuesday.  
Fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections total $4 billion, which is $10.7 million, or 0.3 percent, below estimate.
Total revenues in August were about the same as in 2013-- $1.8 billion, but there were more General Fund collections than last year-- $3.7 billion.
Sales tax receipts totaled $789.8 million for August, $5 million above estimate. Year-to-date sales tax collections total $1.7 billion, which is $5 million, or 0.3 percent, more than anticipated.
Personal income tax revenue in August was $711.2 million, $2 million below estimate. This brings year-to-date PIT collections to $1.5 billion, which is $2 million, or 0.1 percent, below estimate.    
August corporation tax revenue of $45.8 million was $7.6 million below estimate. Year-to-date corporation tax collections total $126.6 million, which is $6.9 million, or 5.2 percent, below estimate.
Inheritance tax revenue for the month was $66.3 million, $300,000 below estimate, bringing the year-to-date total to $142.3 million, which is $300,000, or 0.2 percent, below estimate.
Realty transfer tax revenue was $36 million for August, $6.7 million below estimate, bringing the fiscal-year total to $77.5 million, which is $6.6 million, or 7.9 percent, less than anticipated.
Other General Fund tax revenue, including cigarette, malt beverage, liquor and table games taxes, totaled $126.3 million for the month, $900,000 below estimate and bringing the year-to-date total to $224.9 million, which is $800,000, or 0.4 percent, below estimate.
Non-tax revenue totaled $15.8 million for the month, $5.4 million below estimate, bringing the year-to-date total to $267.4 million, which is $1 million, or 0.4 percent, above estimate.
In addition to the General Fund collections, the Motor License Fund received $178.4 million for the month, $28.1 million above estimate. Fiscal year-to-date collections for the fund – which include the commonly known gas and diesel taxes, as well as other license, fine and fee revenues – total $422.1 million, which is $28.3 million, or 7.2 percent, above estimate.

Rep. Taylor To Introduce Legislation To Decriminalize Out-Of-State Liquor Sales

Rep. John Taylor (R-Philadelphia) will introduce legislation to decriminalize the purchase of out-of-state wine and liquor.
“For decades people have driven into New Jersey and Delaware to purchase wines and spirits not available in Pennsylvania, which is illegal, though rarely enforced. When it is enforced, the consequences can be great and often unfair,” Rep. Taylor said.
Rep. Taylor cited the case of Arthur Goldman, a lawyer who purchased more than 2,400 bottles of premium wines purchased out of state that were unavailable through the Pennsylvania system. Goldman was charged with selling liquor from his home, though he was making purchases for friends and family who had requested a specific wine and reimbursed him.
“These valuable wines, which represent a significant investment by the purchaser, were confiscated by the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement and could be destroyed,” Rep. Taylor said. “If he is willing to pay the necessary state taxes, he should have his wines returned to him.”
To make sure this does not happen again, Taylor will introduce legislation to decriminalize this activity as long as the person making the purchase pays the Pennsylvania taxes owed on the product.
“My bill will specifically allow residents of Pennsylvania to purchase wine, spirits and beer outside of the Commonwealth and bring those purchases home with them without fear of criminal prosecution,” Rep. Taylor said.
Furthermore, Rep. Taylor’s legislation would allow a Pennsylvania resident to be reimbursed by a friend or family member for alcohol purchased outside of Pennsylvania.
“It’s time to reform this system,” Rep. Taylor said.

Pennsylvania Collects $1 Million In Back Taxes From State Vendors

Budget Secretary Charles B. Zogby Tuesday announced the Commonwealth has saved more than $1 million by offsetting payments to vendors and business partners with debts more than 90 days delinquent to the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth Offset Program began in July 2013 to offset any payment to delinquent business partners by the amount they may owe the Commonwealth for license fees, assessments or delinquent loans last year.
“As budgets continue to get tighter, it is important for the commonwealth to be good stewards of public funds,” Zogby said. “Each year, the Commonwealth used to pay millions of dollars to vendors that were delinquent on debts owed back to it. With the offset program, we keep valuable funds available for Commonwealth programs and services.”
The COP uses the current Contractor Responsibility Program to identify vendors who are set to receive Commonwealth payment, yet are 90 days or more delinquent on non-tax debts. Under the COP, the debt owed to the Commonwealth is deducted from the vendor payment.
If the debt exceeds the payment, future payments would be offset by the corresponding amount.
The Commonwealth urges its business partners to pay any delinquent debts to avoid having any future payments delayed or offset.
The COP was developed as part of the Governor’s Innovation Initiative. Since its inception the Governor’s Innovation Office has worked with state agencies on efforts to reduce costs, increase efficiency and improve services. These initiatives have resulted in more than $690 million in savings and productivity gains.
For more information, visit the Commonwealth Offset Program webpage.

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