By Bob Katzen
Massachusetts Department of Revenue Commissioner Christopher Harding announced that preliminary revenue collections for January totaled $2.79 billion, which is $195 million or 6.5 percent below the hoped-for benchmark and $180 million or 6.1 percent less than the final collections in January 2018. For the first seven months of fiscal 2019, revenue collections totaled $16.1 billion, a whopping $403 million or 2.4 percent less than the predicted benchmark.
“While most major categories of revenue continue to perform generally as expected, Massachusetts, like a number of other states, experienced below-benchmark performance in the category of non-withheld income in both December and January, particularly in individual estimated payments,” Revenue Commissioner Harding said. “As discussed in the December report, Massachusetts did experience a shift in estimated payments from December into January. A significant component of the shortfall is likely due to volatile capital gains, and Massachusetts has a statutory mechanism in place to protect itself from this type of volatility.”
“The Baker-Polito Administration has increased the balance of the Rainy Day Fund to its highest point in a decade, closed a billion dollar budget deficit without raising taxes and while much of the recent shortfall appears to be related to a decline in revenue from capital gains, the commonwealth has a statutory mechanism in place to buffer the state from such volatility,” Baker spokeswoman Sarah Finlaw said.
“As the tax filing season begins, and as we look ahead to the final months of the fiscal year, we will carefully monitor collections and trends in all tax categories,” said Harding.