April 24, 2014

Drought driving state revenue up?

Drought seems to be affecting everything, even state tax receipts.

Net July tax receipts came in 5.5% above the certified forecast at $222 million. A big driver came from taxes paid on the utility bills Nebraskans paid in July, according to State Tax Commissioner Doug Ewald.

“Our AC costs, along with a little bit more watering to our lawns and gardens, those types of things,” Ewald tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “The receipts from utilities are up significantly and really one of the driving forces here in this month’s receipts.”

Individual income tax receipts came in 5.2% above the forecast. Net corporate income spiked to 86.2% above forecast in July. Only the miscellaneous category saw a drop, down 12.6%. PDF July 2012 tax receipts

Hot, dry conditions might have driven up state tax receipts last month, but they might eventually bring them down. Farm income is likely to take a hit this year. Ewald says we won’t know how hard a hit until early next year.

“When farmers file those tax returns with respect to at least on the grain side, a lot of it is going to depend on how many had insurance and at what levels and those type of things,” Ewald says. “So, there are a few wild cards out there. We’re not going to completely know that picture, probably until next March, sometime.”

Ewald also says it’s too early to tell whether the upward trend in tax receipts will hold.

Jane Monnich, KLIN, contributed to this report.