Call it a surplus if you like. We’ll call it mismanagement of the budget.
Today Governor Ralph Northam cheerfully announced that Virginia took in a revenue surplus of over $551 million. That’s real money, a lot of it. And that’s your money. This surplus is from tax collection, not from selling t-shirts in the welcome center rest stops along Virginia’s highways.
From the Governor’s statement–
“Total revenue collections rose by 6.3 percent in fiscal year 2018, ahead of the revenue forecast of 3.4 percent growth. The main drivers of the revenue increase were growth in payroll withholding and nonwithholding income tax collections…
Payroll withholding and sales tax collections, 85 percent of total revenues, and the best indicator of current economic activity in the Commonwealth, finished $230.8 million or 1.5 percent ahead of forecast—almost all of this surplus was due to payroll withholding.
Estimates for these two sources are directly tied to the economic outlook developed during the fall forecasting process, and specifically, the outlook for jobs and wage income in the Commonwealth.
Payroll withholding growth of 5.4% was well ahead of the forecast of 3.5 percent growth. This source was $227.2 million above the estimate, however about half of this amount is attributable to the July 4th holiday falling on a Wednesday and business tax payers submitting payments early.
Sales tax collections increased 3.1 percent as compared to the annual forecast of 3.0 percent.
So that means the economy is doing well. People are finding jobs, the employed are getting raises, and consumers are spending money. Or in other words, none of the economic doom of a Trump presidency predicted by the leftys like Northam, McAuliffe and the gang is happening. But, I’m sure, the sky is still falling somehow.
The part of the press release that is just downright silly is-
The fiscal year 2018 revenue surplus is attributable to prudent fiscal management, including Virginia’s consensus revenue forecasting process.
That can’t be right. If the revenue forecasting was correct then the government would not have needed to take in $550 million more than is needed to meet the budget. That self-congratulatory statement is not “prudent fiscal management.” That is irresponsible fiscal mismanagement.
And the government is keeping the money too. Northam said in the release-
“This significant surplus will substantially increase the Commonwealth’s cash reserves in order to protect taxpayers against a future economic downturn and further affirm our valuable AAA bond rating.”
Huh? “Substantially increase!?!?” Yeah, I would say $550 million is a substance increase alright. No government should ever experience a “significant surplus” from tax collections. How about returning some of that money to the tax payers who paid more than was needed? Wouldn’t that be the most appropriate thing to do?
So Mr. Governor, please send me my refund check posthaste. Thanking you in advance,
-A Tax Payer