State sales and income tax collections improved again in July, giving officials hope of a continued solid economy during the new fiscal year.
The state ended fiscal year 2017 on June 30 with a $930 million increase in tax revenue over the previous year. The 4.5 percent increase was more than enough to fund the state’s $24 billion budget, so there should be a surplus for the year when the books are officially closed
Gov. Nathan Deal’s office on Monday reported a 7.1 percent increase in collections for July over July 2016, a $113 million bump. Income tax collections improved 10.4 percent and the sales tax take 5.1. Gas taxes, another big source of revenue for the state, were off slightly.
The news comes a week after Deal’s budget director told state agencies not to expect much in the way of extra spending next year, as the rising cost of teacher pensions, schools, public health care costs and transportation projects will likely eat up almost all new revenue.
Nonetheless, the news of gains in July was good for Deal, who vowed to leave his successor at least a $2 billion rainy day reserve when he leaves office in 2019. The governor met that last summer, and he has now reset his goal to $2.5 billion. That amounts to about what it would take to run the state for almost a month.