State tax collections still sliding
But October data show improvement over September
The latest economic news for the state still looks gloomy, although perhaps slightly improved from last month.
The Maryland general fund, the ledger for most taxes and lottery revenue, slipped 2.3 percent for October, compared with last October. For the fiscal year, which started July 1, the general fund is off $3.2 billion, or 6.6 percent.
In September, however, revenue collections were off 8.3 percent.
The forecast for the whole year was supposed to be down from the year before, so the decline is not unexpected, said Warren Deschenaux, director of the nonpartisan Office of Policy Analysis, which examines budget issues for the General Assembly.
"What we need to be is less far down. And if we are, it's a sign of progress and perhaps recovery," Deschenaux said.
House Minority Leader Anthony J. O'Donnell was less sanguine.
"This is more evidence that the very damaging economic floodwaters continue to rise, and although they may be rising at a slightly slower rate, we have not yet reached the crest of the bad news," said O'Donnell (R-Dist. 29C) of Lusby.
The revenue report from Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot's office showed total collections for the month at $892.8 million.
The report showed individual income tax withholding declined from $901.5 million last October to $866.7 million, a drop of 3.9 percent. Year-to-date figures were down 1.4 percent.
Corporate income taxes rose from about $20 million in October 2008 to $29.3 million last month, an increase of 46.3 percent. Year-to-date collections are down 11.9 percent, however.
Sales tax collections dropped from $315.7 million in October 2008 to $298.5 million this year, which represents a 5.4 percent decline in year-over-year numbers. The year-to-date receipts have slipped 7.5 percent.