Tax Collections Still Down Alabama Schools For Year

The state finance department on Monday reported that: Tax collections for the state Education Trust Fund in the first 10 months of this fiscal year were down 3.9 percent compared to the same period a year earlier.Year-to-date tax collections for the trust fund, the main source of state tax dollars for public schools and colleges have been erratic for much of this year.They were down just 1.4 percent in October through May but were down 6 percent in October through June compared to the same periods a year earlier.

Executive secretary of the Alabama Education Association teachers’ Paul Hubbert said it was modest good news that the trust fund’s revenues, though down for the year, showed improvement in the past month.He also mention that:”It is down but it is not down as much as it has been or as much as it possibly could be.”

Alabama acting Finance Director Bill Newton said he did not expect any change in proration based on Monday’s report. Gov. Bob Riley months ago cut this year’s budgeted trust fund spending across the board by 7.5 percent, to $5.3 billion, because of lower-than-expected tax collections.

The trust fund collected $4.161 billion in October through July, a drop of $167.3 million compared to the same period a year earlier. The main reason for the decline was a drop in individual income-tax collections at a time of high unemployment. Alabama’s jobless rate was 10.3 percent in June.

The trust fund gets 85 percent of its money from state income-tax collections. which are down so far this fiscal year and state sales-tax collections. which are up slightly.

Gross individual income tax collections before refunds and other deductions were down $123.3 million, 4.6 percent, in October through July compared to the same period a year earlier.

Gross corporate income tax collections also were down. They fell $58.3 million, 14 percent, in October through July compared to the same period a year earlier.

Combined net individual and corporate income taxes for the period, reflecting refund payments and other deductions, totaled $2.233 billion, a drop of 9 percent compared to the same period a year earlier.

Gross sales tax collections for the trust fund, before repayment of state bond debt and other deductions, rose $20.3 million, 1.3 percent, in October through July compared to the same period a year before.

Net sales tax collections for the period rose $51.8 million, 4.1 percent, compared to the same period a year earlier, in part because of lower debt repayments scheduled this year.

The finance department also mention there report on Monday that:revenues for the General Fund, a major source of money for Medicaid, prisons and other state functions outside education, totaled $963 million in October through July, a drop of $246 million, 20.3 percent, compared to the same period a year earlier.