- The state’s revenue coffers swelled by nearly half a billion dollars more than expected in September.
- Hurricane Ian did not affect the report, which happened in the final days of the month.
- Both corporate tax and sales tax collections exceeded expectations.
- Economists say that personal spending isn’t slowing despite high inflation costs because people are instead depleting savings to cover the difference.
State general-revenue collections in September came in $471.2 million above a projection as people continued to spend money amid decades-high inflation. A report issued Tuesday by the Legislature’s Office of Economic & Demographic Research said net general revenue in September was $4.066 billion. It said collections were “unaffected” by Hurricane Ian, which made landfall Sept. 28 in Southwest Florida before crossing the state.
“The overage, instead, reflected the continued reliance on savings to support personal consumption and first-round inflationary effects,” the report said. The collections topped a projection made Aug. 16 by the state’s Revenue Estimating Conference. The conference, a panel of economists, meets periodically to revise tax projections.
In August, it estimated that general-revenue collections would be about $3.595 billion in September. The higher-than-expected collections were bolstered by sales-tax revenues topping a projection by $301.4 million and corporate income taxes coming in $157.7 million higher than anticipated. Inflation helps increase sales-tax collections because of higher prices.
But the report said people also continue to deplete savings. The personal-savings rate stood at 3.1 percent in September, down from 3.4 percent in August, and 5 percent in June and July. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the savings rate in the 2018-2019 fiscal year was 7.9 percent. The rate ballooned to 33.7 percent in April 2020 as people cut back on spending and started receiving federal stimulus checks. General revenue plays a key role in funding schools, health-care programs and prisons.