AZ Financial Freefall Continues

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More bad news on the state’s financial front: We still have not hit bottom.

For the 17th consecutive month, the amount of taxes collected has dropped by double digits compared to the same month one year earlier. In December 2009, the tax take was 12 percent below December 2008.

We’ll fill in more details as we crunch the Joint Legislative Budget Committee report, but here are some key takeaways:

• The total tax take for the month was $681 million, which was more than $90 million below forecast.

• In the first six months of the fiscal year, tax collections have shrunk 16.7 percent compared to the previous year.

• Sales taxes were off by 10 percent in December. Merchants can be happy that the retail sector was only off by 3 percent, but construction workers lost out as contracting taxes dropped by more than 36 percent. Sales tax collections, by the way, have been shrinking for 23 months.

JLBC now projects a $1.5 billion shortfall in the fiscal year that ends in June.

The staff also projects the state will bring in $6.9 billion next year and is on track to spend $9.5 billion, for a $2.6 billion shortfall.

Check out the report yourself: mfh-jan-10.pdf

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