State tax revenue rise
The state collected a record $4.6 billion in general fund revenues during the fiscal year ending June 30, a 1.2 percent increase over the previous fiscal year, the state Department of Taxation said yesterday.
But it was $100 million less than the Council on Revenues had estimated would be collected. State officials use the council's predictions to plan how much to spend.
"Hawaii is fortunate that its fiscal picture continues to demonstrate growth, albeit less than the 3.3 percent growth projected by the Council of Revenues in late May," Gov. Linda Lingle said.
"This means my administration will need to find innovative ways to save an additional $100 million in state revenues this fiscal year, which began July 1, 2008," she said in a news release.
Tax officials noted a 1 percent decline in the amount of individual income taxes collected, saying many people generally not required to file state tax returns did so to claim a refund of up to $160 per return.
"It is positive that more taxpayers are receiving tax refunds, and the department is proud that it is processing these refunds promptly," Tax Director Kurt Kawafuchi said. "However, it means about $50 million less general fund tax revenues from individuals than the Council on Revenues had estimated."
June saw a 2.5 percent increase, or $63 million, in general excise tax collections, but the growth was about $47 million less than the council had projected.
"While Hawaii's overall economy continues to show positive growth, this new fiscal environment along with global economic factors require that the state maintain fiscal prudence in managing our budget and that we exercise judicious spending of taxpayers' money," Lingle said.
The council is slated to meet in September to determine whether adjustments should be made to general fund revenue estimates through fiscal year 2014.