Pa. monthly revenues again below projections

    Pennsylvania’s state government is on the receiving end of more bad financial news.

    After some moderate growth in October, the commonwealth’s November income took nearly a 4 percent hit, with general revenues coming in $79.5 million lower than expected.

    The weak revenues weren’t that unexpected, said Matthew Knittel, director of the state independent fiscal office director.

    “The November report largely confirmed what we’d had been seeing for the other four months of the fiscal year,” he said. “That is, general weakness across most of the revenue sources.”

    In October, revenue was 1.6 percent above estimates.

    Knittel said the state had been hoping that growth would continue.

    “I would characterize November as slightly disappointing,” he said. “Based on October, we were hoping for a little more of a pickup. But we really have to see another month here to see whether the trend is reversing itself or if it’s just an outlier.”

    Knittel said a particular weakness was in the state’s sales and use tax, which was more than $50 million below estimate.

    The poor showing comes on top of Pennsylvania’s significant structural deficit, which is estimated at nearly $2 billion in the next year.

    One potential bright spot is that reports have shown fairly strong sales at the start of holiday shopping season.

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