LINCOLN — Nebraska posted an April for the record books when it comes to state tax revenues.
The state pulled in nearly $626 million in net tax receipts for the month, an increase of 75 percent over April 2012. The number also came in 44.5 percent higher than predicted by the certified forecast set last year.
“It's the single-largest month in the state's history,” Nebraska Tax Commissioner Doug Ewald said Friday. But he cautioned not to expect more records in months to come.
April's stronger-than-expected revenue helped push state tax receipts 8.6 percent ahead of forecasts for the first 10 months of the fiscal year.
The receipts now stand at about $3.3 billion, according to a report from the State Department of Revenue.
The month's final numbers even outpaced the robust outlook from just two weeks ago, when the state's revenue forecasting board met.
During the board's April 24 meeting it predicted the month would result in an extra $122 million in revenue. But the final number came in about $22 million higher than the prediction.
By law, the revenue will go directly to the state's cash reserve, Ewald said, because it is in excess of the certified forecast.
Sen. Heath Mello of Omaha, chairman of the Legislature's Appropriations Committee, said Friday's rosy report did not make him want to reconsider the package of budget bills that received first-round approval this week. He advocated sticking with the plan of building the reserve fund rather than adding to the projected $7.8 billion budget.
And with a plan in the works to conduct a comprehensive review of state tax policy, it doesn't make sense to use reserve funds for tax relief, he argued.
The reserve fund helped the state balance its budget during the last economic downturn.
Much of April's record revenue was attributed to increases from individual and corporate income taxes. Sales and use tax revenue was 2.2 percent higher than forecast.
The robust April was more the result of a unique combination of factors than a sign of more record-setting months to come, Ewald said.
Among the factors was a delay in the filing of tax returns because of uncertainty over the federal “fiscal cliff” in January. Returns typically filed in February and March, especially from farmers and ranchers, were not filed until April this year.
In addition, some Nebraskans saw capital gains income from selling publicly traded stocks. And more companies have paid dividends, including small companies, which also drove up income.
“It's a very nice month going to the cash reserve to save for a rainy day or whatever the governor and Legislature decide to do with the money,” Ewald said.
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