Nebraska beat expectations, collected $4.567 billion in taxes last fiscal year

July 15, 2018 GMT

LINCOLN — Nebraska closed out its fiscal year with more money than expected in the state coffers.

State revenue officials reported Friday that state tax collections for the year ended June 30 topped the most recent revenue forecast by $37 million. Net tax receipts for the year were $4.567 billion.

The report brought good news following three tough budget years, and Gov. Pete Ricketts hailed the report.

“Rising incomes for Nebraska’s families and businesses are the highlight of this year’s revenue report, which is more evidence of the growth Nebraska has been experiencing,” he said. “Continued growth will allow us to continue our work on property tax relief.”

But State Tax Commissioner Tony Fulton sounded a note of caution, citing a slide in grain prices. He said struggles in Nebraska’s agricultural sector could dampen the state’s overall economy.

“Things are certainly better with respect to receipts,” he said, “but that’s as far as I’m taking that.”

Individual income tax collections reflect a brighter side of the state’s economy. Fulton said individual income taxes were 6 percent higher this year than in the previous year. He said income tax withholding accounts for most of the difference.

“More workers are earning more money,” he said.

The Revenue Department reported that Nebraska collected $2.36 billion in net individual income taxes for the year. The total was 2.2 percent higher than the certified forecast, issued in November. Corporate income taxes also came in stronger than expected.

But sales taxes lagged behind the certified forecast by $17.26 million.

The department compares tax revenues to the state’s certified forecast, which may not be the most recent revenue projection from the Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board. By law, only downward revisions to the forecast during the year are recertified.

The certified forecast, from November, called for revenues of $4.505 billion, while the most recent projection, issued in February, was for revenues of $4.53 billion.