State tax receipts below projections

New York tax receipts through August were $147 million below projections and $204.3 million below co

New York tax receipts through August were $147 million below projections and $204.3 million below collections for the same period last year, reflecting volatile economic conditions, according to state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

The cash report from the comptroller’s office showed tax collections of $24.7 billion for the first five months of the state’s fiscal year, including a 1.2 percent decline in personal income taxes from a year earlier. Recent state labor department data showed New York’s unemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent in July. The August report was scheduled for release today.

“Weak revenue collections and slow economic growth signal a need for caution going forward,” DiNapoli said Wednesday. Primarily because of lower spending, the state government budget remains on relatively solid ground, he said.

The Cuomo administration and lawmakers agreed on a $132.5 billion spending plan for the current 2012-2013 fiscal year that began April 1 that would increase total spending by 1.9 percent.

State Budget Director Robert Megna said in a letter to agency commissioners this week that they should plan for zero growth from their cash ceilings in budget requests for the next two years. “The governor is committed to keeping spending growth to two percent or less over the course of his administration,” he wrote, in an effort to correct structural deficits.

New York’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 8.4 percent outside New York City in July, while remaining at 10 percent in the city, according to the labor department. Both numbers and the overall state rate were nearly 1 percent higher than a year earlier. The national jobless rate was 8.3 percent in July, down more than 1 percent from a year earlier.

The department noted that the statewide labor force increased by more than 100,000 from a year earlier, that many people who had quit looking for work were trying again with some renewed confidence, and that the state’s private sector job count has risen to more than 7.3 million, up by 346,900 since New York’s economic recovery from the recession began in November 2009. The jobs total slipped by 3,700 in July from a year earlier, but officials said the count was affected by the labor dispute at Consolidated Edison and 8,500 utility workers who weren’t counted in the monthly payroll survey.

Nationally, the private sector job count rose in July from a month earlier by 172,000 or 0.2 percent.

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