State revenue for September misses estimate

JACKSON – State revenue collections missed the official estimate for the month of September by $5.2 million, reversing a modest but welcomed two-month trend of better-than-expected growth.
Gov. Haley Barbour released a statement saying that September’s revenue collections, which were 1.26 percent below estimate, indicate that the economy is still “fragile.”
“As we begin planning for the FY 2012 budget,” he said, “we must remember the global economy is not strong. Spending must be restrained in FY 2012 due to the loss of hundreds of millions of federal stimulus dollars and the fragile economic recovery.”
Tax collections for July and August, the first two months of the current fiscal year, were slightly better than the estimate. For the first three months of the fiscal year, tax collections still are $13.9 million, or 1.47 percent, above the estimate.
The estimate is important because the budget passed by the 2010 Legislature is built on that estimate.
If the revenue falls below the estimate, Barbour will either have to make cuts or dip into rainy day funds to make up the difference.
The state has been mired in a period where the drop in revenue collections has been historic by modern standards. For the past three years, collections have been less than the amount collected the previous year.
September collections, while below the estimate, still were above the amount collected in September 2009, albeit a mere $241,100, or .06 percent.
The amounts announced Thursday for September were preliminary and could change slightly when the final numbers are tabulated.
Contact Bobby Harrison at (601) 353-3119 or bobby.harrison@djournal.com.

Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal