Pennsylvania tax collections continue rebound from pandemic
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania continued its rebound from the coronavirus pandemic, as the state reported Tuesday that tax collections through May were almost $3 billion ahead of expectations.
Collections for the state’s main operating account were $36.6 billion through May, the 11th month of the fiscal year, the Department of Revenue said.
That is $2.9 billion, or 8.5%, above estimate, with another month to go until the 2020-21 fiscal year ends June 30. Last summer, budgetmakers had warned of a multibillion-dollar deficit because of the pandemic’s impact.
In February, Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, asked the Republican-controlled Legislature for a $37.8 billion budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year starting July 1.
The centerpiece is a $1.35 billion boost — or 20% — to help fix long-term inequities in how the state funds public schools. Wolf also wants to raise income taxes by billions of dollars on higher earners to help fill a projected deficit and cut taxes on lower earners.
In the meantime, Wolf and lawmakers must decide how to allocate $7.3 billion from the American Rescue Plan bill signed by President Joe Biden in March.
Last fiscal year, the state collected about $3.2 billion, or 10%, less than projected. To help fill gaps in this year’s $35.5 billion state budget, Pennsylvania is counting on more than $3.3 billion in federal pandemic aid.