by Jim Nintzel
Arizona's economy continues to spiral downward, according to the latest monthly report from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.
Wonks can check it out themselves at the above link, but here are the main takeaways:
Overall February tax collections for the state were 33.4 percent below February 2008—a significant drop, but a little deceptive because the state is following the federal lead and deducting less from your paycheck in income taxes. That said, the $403.4 million collected in February was $73 million less than the state had projected, which means the budget problems continue. This is the 14th straight month that revenue has dropped from one year earlier.
Compared to one year ago, sales taxes were down nearly 18 percent in February.
The JBLC crew now estimates that the current fiscal year that ends June 30 will have a $510 million shortfall. They suggest that the state look to trim $650 in the three months remaining in the fiscal year just in case the economy continues to sour, reckoning that any savings can be carried forward into the next fiscal year.
Next year's shortfall is now estimated at $2.93 billion.