INDIANAPOLIS —Eight months into the fiscal year, Indiana has collected $38.5 million more in tax dollars than forecasters expected, and $147 million more than state lawmakers planned to spend when they passed the current budget.
That’s all despite a slight lag in February, when the state dipped below forecasts – but not enough to trigger any changes.
Indiana took in $719 million in February. That’s $3.4 million better than February 2011, but it’s still $28.6 million short of what the panel that forecasts Indiana’s tax revenue said to expect when it updated the state’s month-by-month projections in December.
It was the second month in a row that Indiana took in less tax money than forecasters projected, but the state remains on pace to close with a healthy enough bank account to top the 10 percent, or $1.4 billion, surplus necessary to trigger “automatic taxpayer refunds” worth about $50 each.
And, as state lawmakers enter the last week of a 2012 legislative session during which they are considering spending an extra $80 million or more on full-day kindergarten, and about $5 million more on payouts to the Indiana State Fair stage collapse victims, the most recent numbers indicate they’ve got the cash to do so.
Adam Horst, Gov. Mitch Daniels’ state budget director, said February is always expected to be a worse-than-average month.
“February is the month with the lowest level of collections, in part because of the large amount of individual income tax refunds that are paid during the month,” he said.
Much of February’s shortfall compared to the forecast can be attributed to a $31 million loss in corporate income taxes.
“Corporate income tax collections for February were weak as a result of refunds, but viewed over the past eight months, corporate income tax collections lead the December 2011 forecast by $51 million,” Horst said.
The numbers are for fiscal year 2012, which runs from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012. They show a state slowly improving its financial health, as Indiana has taken in $510 million, or 7.6 percent, more in the first eight months of fiscal year 2012 than it did in fiscal year 2011.