Iowa revenue growth remains flat

Collections lag behind yearly estimate

The Iowa State Capitol building in Des Moines, photographed on Tuesday, June 10, 2014. (Liz Martin/The Gazette-KCRG)
The Iowa State Capitol building in Des Moines, photographed on Tuesday, June 10, 2014. (Liz Martin/The Gazette-KCRG)

DES MOINES — State tax receipts continue to lag well below projections after a flat month for collections in November, according to a report issued Monday by the Legislative Services Agency.

“Flat month, flat year, you can’t twist these numbers into anything but that,” said LSA tax analyst Jeff Robinson after last month’s growth of two-tenths of 1 percent brought year-to-date collections of nearly $2.833 billion to $20.6 million (or 0.7 percent) more than the state took in for the first five months of last fiscal year.

The state Revenue Estimating Conference, which meets later this month to revisit and possibly revise its projections, expects tax receipts to grow by 6.1 percent to $7.207 billion by the time the current fiscal year ends June 30.

“To cover up the fact that we’re at 0.7 (percent) and we need 6 (percent), it would really have to take off,” Robinson said. Receipts last month ran $1.4 million above November 2015.

Moderate growth in personal income tax collections have been offset by higher refunds and lagging corporate income tax receipts, he said, while sales tax revenue has been “bouncing around like crazy” this fiscal year.

“We’ve had some past years where this is basically where we were at this point in time and finished strong,” Robinson noted.

“The real action starts the second half of December when people start sending in their estimate payments based on how much they think they’re going to owe, and that’s the huge estimate payment for income tax,” he added, “and then you start to get an idea what tax return season is going to look like.”

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