Pennsylvania’s General Fund revenue shows pluses, minuses in collections

Pennsylvania’s General Fund revenue in January was less than expected, but the good news is the state’s fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections are above estimate. 

Acting Revenue Secretary Pat Browne reported Thursday that Pennsylvania in January collected $3.6 billion in General Fund revenue, a total that was $205.6 million below what was anticipated. Browne also reported that the fiscal year-to-date collections totaling $23.3 billion are $297.5 million more than estimated. 

Sales tax receipts were higher than anticipated in both January and in fiscal year-to-date figures. January saw sales tax receipts reach $1.3 billion, $11.6 million over estimate.  Fiscal year-to-date sales tax collections climbed to $8.4 billion, $146.4 million more than expected. 

Revenue for personal income tax (PIT) was below expectations in January and for year-to-date (YTD). PIT for January was $1.3billion, $243.7 million below expectations, while PIT for YTD was $9.2 billion, $216.6 million lower than anticipated. 

Corporation tax revenue for January reached $223.4 million, $13.8 million more than expected, and YTD’s corporation tax total $3 billion also exceeds expectations, $342.4 million above estimate. 

January’s inheritance tax revenue was $125.9 million, $4 million above estimate, while YTD is $851.6 million, which is $12.3 million, below estimate. 

Realty transfer tax revenue was down for both the month and YTD. Its January total of $55.5 million is $17.1 million below estimate, bringing the fiscal-year total to $407.4 million, which is $43.8 million less than anticipated. 

Additional General Fund tax revenue, which includes cigarette, malt beverage, liquor, and gaming taxes, totaled $129.0 million for January, $0.2 million above estimate. The YTD total is $1.1 billion, which is $32.3 million, below expectations. 

January’s non-tax revenue totaled $37.9 million, $25.7 million above estimate, and it brings the YTD total to $384.6 million, which is $113.7 million above estimate. 

Along with General Fund collections, the Motor License Fund received $222.2 million for the month, which stands $2.1 million below estimate. Fiscal YTD collections for the fund – which include gas and diesel taxes, as well as other license, fine and fee revenues – total $1.6 billion, which is $22.8 million more than expected.

Pa. Senate passes bill to stop gas tax increase

Addressing transportation costs facing Pennsylvania drivers, the Senate of Pennsylvania passed legislation Wednesday aimed at stopping the automatic gas tax increase. 

Senate Bill 35 is sponsored by Wayne Langerholc Jr. (R-Cambria, Centre, and Clearfield counties), chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. 

Langerholc said in a statement his legislation is a response to “insurmountable” transportation costs. 

My measure immediately cuts the gas tax to temper inflation-induced gas prices,” said Langerholc, “and the costly ramifications to home heating and goods delivered to grocery stores and residences.” 

The automatic gas tax increase is implemented by Act 89 of 2013. Langerholc’s bill halts the automatic gas tax increase for 2023 and permanently sets the Average Wholesale Price (AWP) at $2.99 per gallon to end future tax hikes on working families. The Department of Revenue, under law established in 2013, is required to annually assess the AWP on all taxable liquid fuels (i.e., gasoline), fuels (i.e., diesel fuel) and alternative fuels (i.e., electric). 

Sen. Scott Martin (R-Berks and Lancaster) said that as Pennsylvania has significant infrastructure needs that need to be addressed, increasing the gas tax “only adds another serious financial burden on family budgets throughout the state.” 

The AWP exceeded $2.99 per gallon for the first time in 2022. This led to an automatic increase in Pennsylvania’s gas tax of 3.5 cents per gallon and an increase in the tax on diesel fuel of 4.4 cents per gallon. Also increased were the alternative fuels tax rates. 

Langerholc said his legislation will cut the gas tax before Pennsylvania families pay the second highest gas tax in the nation. 

“At a time when our constituents are faced with rising costs at the pump, grocery store and utility bills,” said Langerholc, “no elected official should be voting against this legislation.” 

Senate Bill 35 heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.