Budget report shows Minnesota's tax take below projection over last 3 months by $46 million



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ST. PAUL, Minnesota — Minnesota's tax collections came in $46 million short of expectations for the last three months, state officials said in a report issued Friday that Republicans quickly worked into campaigns against the Democrats who lead government.

The Department of Minnesota Management and Budget analysis said total revenue of almost $4.3 billion for July through September was 1.1 percent below estimates laid out in a February forecast used by lawmakers in budget-setting.

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said the report is proof "Minnesotans can't afford tax-and-spend, all-Democratic rule at the Capitol."

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson said it was a sign people were making and spending less, costing the state income and sales tax money. "Mark Dayton's economic policies are hitting Minnesotans where it hurts: their pocketbooks," he said in a statement.

Tax collections missed marks in more months this year than they've been ahead of projections. But the last fiscal year ended in June with the state having $186 million more than it needed to cover expenses.

Democrats seized on a stronger September, which beat projections by $33 million and saw a pickup in income tax withholdings.

"Today's quarterly revenue report shows that Minnesota continues on a sound fiscal footing," said Dayton press secretary Matt Swenson, who added that the small variance shouldn't be cause for concern because a projected $600 million surplus gives the state some cushion.

"Republicans are rooting for Minnesota to fail, so much so that they refuse to look at facts," House Speaker Paul Thissen said.

September's rebound was not enough to offset weaker July and August figures. All of the state's main revenues, except corporate taxes, were below expectations for the three-month period.

The quarterly update doesn't track state spending patterns. A comprehensive economic forecast surveying both taxes and spending comes out in early December, which the next governor will use in crafting a two-year budget proposal for consideration by the Legislature.

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