Mississippi revenue collections well above last year

other_state_newsBy Bobby Harrison

Daily Journal Jackson Bureau

JACKSON – State revenue collections for the month of April are $68.2 million, or 13.2 percent, above what was collected during the same month a year ago.

Revenue collections for the fiscal year to date (July 1 through April 30) are $357.4 million, or 9.2 percent, above what was collected during the same time last year.

The state revenue is collected from a variety of taxes, including a 7 percent sales tax on most retail items, individual and corporate income taxes, a tax on insurance premiums and a tax on casinos.

While overall tax collections are up compared to the prior year, tax collections from casinos continue to be sluggish. Through April, casino tax collections are $8.5 million or 7.4 percent below what was collected during the same time period a year ago. In April, the state collected $10.8 million in casino taxes compared to $11.2 million in April 2013.

While casino taxes are down, corporate income taxes are skyrocketing. From July 1 through April 30, the state collected 41.7 percent or $165.9 million more in corporate income taxes than it did during the same period a year ago.

State revenue collections are important for two reasons.

First, during the first half of each year in regular session, the Legislature budgets for the upcoming fiscal year based on an estimate of the amount of revenue that will be collected during that fiscal year. If the revenue does not meet that estimate, the governor and legislators are forced to make budget cuts or dip into reserve funds.

Second, the revenue collections (particularly of the sales tax) is viewed as an economic indicator. State economist Darrin Webb has said repeatedly in recent months the state is experiencing slow but steady growth.

The sales tax collection trend reflects Webb’s assessment. During the July through April period, the state has collected $49.4 million or 3.3 percent more in sales taxes than during the previous year. For the month of April, there was a slight $20,000 uptick in sales tax collections. Individual income tax collections are up 5 percent or $58.7 million for the year.

bobby.harrison@journalinc.com