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Strong June tax collections needed to balance budget

Tate Reeves

Tate Reeves

By BOBBY HARRISON / Daily Journal

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves says the state must collect between $725 million and $750 million of revenue during the month of June to balance the budget for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Records with the Department of Revenue reveal the state has never collected that amount of money in June. In 2015, the state collected $695.8 million in revenue during the month of June and in 2014 garnered $674.2 million.

Reeves said he had no idea how much revenue the state will collect this month. While in general, state revenue collections almost always increase year over year, 11 months into this year has been the rare exception – with recurring collections through May $9.8 million or 0.21 below the amount collected during the same period last year.

Regardless of what happens with revenue this month, Reeves said, “We will have a balanced budget.”

Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, said the only option to deal with any budget shortfall this late in the fiscal year would be to transfer funds from the state’s Working Cash Stabilization Fund, better known as the rainy day fund, which currently contains about $359 million.

To do that apparently would take a special session where legislators would need to make the transfer or legislators would give Gov. Phil Bryant the authority to make the transfer.

Even if the state does not collect enough revenue in June, some believe there would be mechanisms available to avoid a special session and wait until the 2017 session to deal with the unbalanced budget. But not everyone subscribes to that theory.

“We are certainly looking at all options,” Reeves said.

Reeves reiterated only the governor can call the special session, but said he and Gunn are working closely with the governor on the issue.

Could not retrieve products.

While some have speculated the special session would be this week, it appears at this point the earliest it might be is next week.

State fiscal officer Kevin Upchurch has said he estimates it will take a transfer of between $60 million and $75 million to balance the budget.

The state collects revenue from a litany of taxes, but the primary sources of revenue are the 7 percent sales tax on most retail items and the personal income tax.

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