September tax collections $215 million shy of Pa. expectations

    Pennsylvania collected less in tax revenue in September than it had expected. And the state Revenue Department isn’t anticipating a change of fortune.

    The commonwealth’s tax revenue is generated from three categories: sales tax, personal income tax and corporation tax. All three collections yielded less than the state was looking foeward to last month.

    In fact, the only area that’s above estimates is the money from taxes on cigarettes, malt beverages, liquor and table games. That could suggest an economy so sluggish that it’s driving people to smoke more, drink more and gamble.

    “I don’t know that I would infer that,” said Elizabeth Brassell, spokeswoman for the state Revenue Department. “You are correct that the gambling, that category aggregated is above estimate.”

    Brassell said harsh reality put the state $215 million off what it expected to collect. The smaller-than-anticipated figure puts the state’s year-to-date collections off by more than 3 percent.

    “We are ahead of where we were last year at this point, just slightly over collections versus last September,” Brassell said. “But the economic forecast doesn’t give us any real strong reason to think that things are going to get better in the rest of the fiscal year.”

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