Post Office Box 408
Peabody, Massachusetts 01960 (508) 384-0100
Thursday, March 4, 1999
The following AP report and Department of Revenue news release continues our ongoing
effort to keep you informed and up-to-speed with the evolving debate and upcoming
decisions over what to do with the taxpayers' ever-mounting overpayment (aka, "the
state's revenue surplus").
"Year-to-date revenue collections total $9.02 billion, up $645.6 million
or 7.7 percent." -- DOR News Release
With all of this revenue pouring in, despite last year's tax cut, what will the
state surplus be by the end of the fiscal year in June? The "gloom and doom"
estimate of up to $500 million by the alleged Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation is
roughly half of what CLT has predicted. As Barbara says, it all depends on how you define
We see a surplus as an excess of taxation beyond what is anticipated as necessary
to run government for the year. If it cost fifty bucks to get something done last year it
shouldn't cost five hundred this year just because you've got it, and if you anticipate
having to spend three hundred, you don't spend a thousand just because it's there.
But in political parlance, a surplus is what's left after the pols have done their
darndest to spend every cent they expect to extract from taxpayers, and still they have
money left over that they just can't find a way to spend or avoid giving back to -- ugh!
-- those nuisance taxpayers who earned it.
Chip Ford --
Tuesday, March 2, 1999
Questions raised about Cellucci tax cut
BOSTON (AP) - State administration and finance officials touted the governor's
budget, but met with plenty of questions during a hearing of the House Ways and Means
On Tuesday, Administration and Finance Secretary Andrew Natsios said, "We are
proposing to hold the line on new spending in a time of record surpluses; we remain
committed to cutting taxes."
But the proposal drew questions from Ways and Means Chairman Paul Haley,
D-Weymouth, who said Gov. Paul Cellucci was proposing to "radically cut" taxes.
Cellucci is proposing a $1.4 billion tax cut.
Haley said he was worried that the governor's budget, with its tax cut, couldn't
be sustained at the same time there is pressure on the spending side with an
"insatiable appetite for spending."
The Republican governor's $20.4 billion budget is being examined by the
Democratic-dominated House, which will prepare its own version of the budget. The
Democratic-dominated Senate will then prepare its spending plan and the House and Senate
will hammer out a compromise to be sent to the governor's desk.
The budget would go into effect on July 1.
In related news, the state Revenue Department said Tuesday that taxes flowed into
the state treasury at a slower rate in February, apparently because of tax cuts enacted
February tax collections totaled $748.3 million, slightly down from the $791.8
million in the same period a year before.
But for the first eight months of the current fiscal year, the state was still far
It collected about $9 billion, compared with about $8.4 billion in the same period
in the previous fiscal year.
Revenue Commissioner Fred Laskey said the economy was strong, but past tax cuts
were beginning to have an impact on revenues.
The state is expected to eventually rack up a surplus for the current fiscal year
of $300 million to $500 million.
Department of Revenue
March 2, 1999
Contact: Jeffrey Busha - (617) 626-2201
FEBRUARY 1999 REVENUE TOTALED $748.3 MILLION
Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR)
Commissioner Frederick A. Laskey today announced that February collections totaled $748.3
million, slightly down from last February due to larger taxpayer refunds this year.
Year-to-date revenue collection increased $47 million against the revenue estimate
benchmark, which was adjusted last month to reflect the expected impact of the tax cuts.
The result is that revenue collections for the year are $274 million above the midpoint of
the revenue estimate range.
"Overall, the economy remains strong as
we begin to see the expected revenue impact of the tax cuts. In addition, due to the
increased personal tax exemptions, we are also seeing larger taxpayer refunds. We are
working hard at getting these larger refunds out-the-door and in to the hands of
taxpayers," said Laskey.
DOR has issued over 575,000 refunds this tax
season totaling $258 million, which is $90 million more than last year at this time.
February 1999 income tax collections totaled
$396.1 million, down $56.4 million or 12.5 percent from last February. Withholding tax
collections totaled $593.2 million, an increase of $16.4 million or 2.8 percent. Sales and
use tax collections totaled $229.1 million, $1.80 million or .8 percent higher. Corporate
income tax collections totaled $15.6 million, down $13.8 million or 46.9 percent.
Year-to-date revenue collections total $9.02 billion, up $645.6
million or 7.7 percent.
Income tax collections total $5.27 billion, up $332.2 billion or
Withholding tax collections total $4.54 billion, up $314.2 million
or 7.4 percent.
Sales and use tax collections total $2.16 billion, an increase of
$217.2 million or 11.2 percent.
Corporate tax collections total $417.2 million, up $12.2 million or
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