Isle tax revenue
The state tax director says gains
in tourism are a major factor in
the surprising figures
Despite a slip in excise tax collection last month, overall state tax revenue is up 15.5 percent for the fiscal year -- nearly double the projected increase from the Council on Revenues.
State Tax Director Kurt Kawafuchi says the state economy is still "quite strong" even though excise collections for September decreased by 5.7 percent from a year ago.
That was offset by heavy collections in the first two months of the fiscal year that began July 1 and by increased deposits from personal income tax payments.
Cumulative tax revenue since July 1 is more than $946 million. For the same period last year, it was more than $819 million. The September collection was $333 million, bringing the increase to 15.5 percent for the quarter.
The independent Council on Revenues projected an 8.8 percent increase in total taxes collected by the end of the year. New estimates are expected in December.
"This is very volatile," Kawafuchi said in an interview. "Monthly revenues go up and down. It would be great if it did end at 15.5 percent. It would be terrific."
Last month, cumulative tax collection was up 25 percent from a year earlier.
Kawafuchi said strong tourism gains during the summer have been a major factor, and businesses income tax collections are way up -- 86 percent -- although they represent only a small share of total tax revenue.
The decrease in excise tax collections this September was due largely to the fact that August 2003 ended on a Sunday, pushing part of that month's revenue collections into September, Kawafuchi said.
General excise tax collections for the first quarter, July to September, were up 9.7 percent this year over last year. Net deposits from income tax collections increased 7.5 percent in September, mainly due to higher estimated tax payments. For the quarter, collections were up 18.8 percent.
Hotel room tax collections dipped slightly in September, again because of the weekend effect last year. The quarter showed a 14 percent gain.