September 12, 2017 10:31:29 AM
JACKSON -- Mississippi tax collections are looking better than they did this time last year.
The Legislative Budget Office released figures Friday showing tax collections for July and August -- the first two months of the current budget year.
Overall collections are $53.7 million higher than they were during the same two months a year ago. That is about an 8.1 percent increase.
The biggest jump was in individual income tax collections, which were 9.5 percent higher this July and August compared to last.
Corporate tax collections decreased, as expected, because tax cuts enacted by the Legislature are starting to take effect. They were down 22.4 percent this July and August compared to last.
Sales tax collections were 2.3 percent higher for the first two months of this year, compared to last year.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant was forced to make multiple rounds of spending cuts during the year that ended June 30 because revenue kept falling short of expectations set by lawmakers who had written the budget.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman John Read, a Republican from Gautier, said it's good news that tax collections have increased, but two months don't indicate a trend.
"I just hope we can maintain what has happened the first two months," Read said Friday. "Maybe, going into January, we can have a little bit positive in our lives (rather) than the gloom and doom we had last year."
Legislators begin their three-month session in early January. And, budget writers are already starting to evaluate state agencies' spending requests for the fiscal year that begins next July 1.