Yesterday’s announcement of state General Revenue (GR) collections for the month of November showed that the state continues to recover only slowly and partially from the depths of the downturn. Outgoing State Treasurer Scott Meacham chose to highlight that November collections this year were 9.3 percent above last year’s; for the first five months of the fiscal year, FY ’11, GR is up 6.3 percent from FY ’10. But as we see from the chart, FY ’11 collections remain substantially below pre-downturn levels. Year-to-date GR is 24.0 percent below the same period of two years ago (FY ’11) and remains below levels of six years ago.
As we discussed in our recent forecasting brief, it is going to take a long time, likely several more years, before revenues recover to nominal pre-downturn levels under current policies. Facing this extended period of sluggish revenue collections, the need for a revenue structure that is capable of supporting the cost of core public services will be increasingly vital and urgent.