Tenn. Revenue Collections Up in March
Tennessee revenue collections continued to exceed budgeted expectations in March. Finance and Administration Commissioner Mark Emkes reported today that overall March revenues were $936.1 million, which is $33.1 million more than the state budgeted. Total tax collections in March were 2.2% above the previous year.
“March collections continued to reflect strong corporate profits from last year, but also reflect very modest retail activity for the month of February, when spending occurred,” Emkes said. “We believe the slowdown in retail spending reflects the two percent increase in the federal payroll tax in January and temporary erosion in consumer confidence, most likely brought about by the federal budget sequestration process.
“While year-to-date corporate tax collections remain very encouraging, we must remember that about a fourth of them typically – but not always - occur in the month of April. Due to the volatility of our corporate tax collections, we will be extremely diligent in monitoring our spending patterns for the remainder of this year, maintaining a balanced budget and financially posturing ourselves for the future.”
On an accrual basis, March is the eighth month in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
The general fund was over collected by $35.4 million and the four other funds were under collected by $2.3 million.
Sales tax collections were $2.8 million less than the estimate for March. The March growth rate was positive 0.11%. For eight months revenues are under collected by $33.1 million. The year-to-date growth rate for eight months was positive 1.77%.
Franchise and excise taxes combined were $42.7 million above the budgeted estimate of $168.8 million. For eight months revenues are over collected by $156.5 million. The year-to-date growth rate for eight months was positive 9.12%.
Gasoline and motor fuel collections for March increased by 0.75% and were $0.2 million above the budgeted estimate. For eight months revenues are under collected by $15.2 million.
Tobacco taxes collections were $5.9 million under the budgeted estimate of $24.7 million. For eight months revenues are under collected in the amount of $10.7 million.
Inheritance and estate taxes were over collected by $2.2 million for the month. Year to date collections for eight months are $12.8 million more than the budgeted estimate.
Privilege tax collections were $2.2 million more than the March estimate, and on a year to date basis, August through March, collections are $17.8 million above the estimate.
All other taxes were under collected by a net of $5.5 million.
Year-to-date collections for eight months were $127.1 million more than the budgeted estimate. The general fund was over collected by $141.6 million and the four other funds were under collected by $14.5 million.
The budgeted revenue estimates for 2012-2013 are based on the State Funding Board’s consensus recommendation of December 19th, 2011 and adopted by the second session of the 107th General Assembly in April 2012. They are available on the state’s website at http://www.tn.gov/finance/bud/budget.html.
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Last Update on May 28, 2015 07:32 GMT
Asian stocks down as Greece deadline looms, Shanghai sinks
TOKYO (AP) -- Asian stocks were mostly lower today as a deadline for Greece to make a debt payment drew near and Chinese shares plummeted after big gains in the past three months.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.4 percent to 20,551.46; the index is up nearly 10 percent in the past three months as exporter stocks benefit from a cheap yen.
Meanwhile, Greece might miss a debt payment on June 5 if it fails to receive bailout funds from creditors, who are demanding that the country make reforms to its economy. It is still unclear whether an agreement can be reached in time, but European shares got a lift from players counting on a deal being reached.
In New York yesterday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 121.45 points, or 0.7 percent, to 18,162.99 on Wednesday. It had fallen 190 points on Tuesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 19.28 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,123.48 and the Nasdaq composite rose 73.84 points, or 1.5 percent, to 5,106.59.
ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims, 8:30 a.m.
National Association of Realtors releases pending home sales index for April, 10 a.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Those automated phone calls during the dinner hour, late at night or to your wireless phone can be so frustrating -- and the government is taking note.
The head of the Federal Communications Commission is circulating a proposal aimed at closing regulatory loopholes, reaffirming current anti-robocall rules, and encouraging wireless and wireline carriers to do more to fight against unwanted telemarketing calls and spam text messages.
A key part of the plan: clearing up any confusion over whether the phone carriers can offer blocking services -- so-called robo-blocking technology that could help people stop the unwanted calls.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler writes in a blog post on the commission website that authorities are "giving the green light" for robocall-blocking technology.
Phone companies have said that they worry that automatic call-blocking might run afoul of laws requiring them to connect phone calls.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) -- Gambling industry participants and analysts agree that Internet betting is off to a slow start in the U.S.
But despite challenges including hesitation by banks to approve credit card payments for online bets, casinos say and their observers say gradual improvement is happening.
Panelists at a major gambling conference in Atlantic City said Wednesday that Internet gambling has great potential for growth.
Three states offer Internet gambling: New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada. Other states are considering doing so, including California and Pennsylvania.
In March, Morgan Stanley cut its estimate of the potential U.S. Internet gambling market by nearly half.
The firm now estimates the nationwide online betting market at $2.7 billion by 2020, down from an initial estimate of $5 billion.
UNDATED (AP) -- A newly-discovered glitch in Apple's software can cause iPhones to mysteriously shut down when they receive a certain text message.
Apple says it's aware of the problem and is working on a fix. But some pranksters are sharing information about the glitch on social media and using it to crash other peoples' phones.
The problem only occurs when the iPhone receives a message with a specific string of characters, including some Arabic characters, according to several tech blogs. When an iPhone isn't being used, it typically shows a shortened version of the message on the phone's lock screen. That shortened combination of characters apparently triggers the crash.
Affected phones will restart automatically. Owners can prevent the problem by using phone settings to turn off the message "previews" feature.
CALIFORNIA OIL SPILL
GOLETA, Calif. (AP) -- The federal government has issued an order to ensure that Plains All American Pipeline finishes the cleanup of an oil spill along the California coast.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Coast Guard issued the joint Clean Water Act order Wednesday for what the agencies call the largest coastal spill in California in the last 25 years.
They say the order is to ensure the cleanup of heavy crude on land, at the shoreline and in the ocean, to contain the oil and to prevent further contamination.
Representatives from the two agencies said at a news conference that such an order is common in spills and is not in response to any inaction by Plains All America.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. bank earnings rose 6.9 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier as revenues increased. At the same time, delinquent loans continued to fall and the number of "problem" banks reached a six-year low.
This information comes from a new report issued by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. FDCIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg tells a news conference in Washington the report shows "gradual but steady improvement" for the banking industry. Still, low interest rates continued to crimp banks' profit margins on loans during the January-March period.
The FDIC reported that U.S. banks earned $39.8 billion in the first quarter, up from $37.2 billion a year earlier.
Nearly 63 percent of banks reported an increase in profit in the first quarter from a year earlier. Only 5.6 percent of banks were unprofitable -- the lowest percentage of unprofitable institutions since the second quarter of 2005.
NEW YORK (AP) -- In a clash of rival makers of fitness trackers, Jawbone is suing Fitbit and a group of employees who quit Jawbone to work for Fitbit, saying they stole trade secrets, business plans, market research, and other information.
Jawbone's lawsuit names Fitbit Inc. and five former Jawbone employees, and says it believes 10 other employees were also involved. The lawsuit says Fitbit recruiters contacted about 30 percent of Jawbone's employees in early 2015, and the employees who accepted Fitbit's offer took information about Jawbone's plans, products, technology and market research.
It says the employees violated agreements with Jawbone and hid their activities from the company.
Fitbit filed for an IPO worth up to $100 million this month. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- IRS investigators believe the identity thieves who stole the personal tax information of more than 100,000 taxpayers from an IRS website are part of a sophisticated criminal operation based in Russia. That's according to two officials who talked to The Associated Press.
ISS Commissioner John Koskinen, meantime, has told reporters the information was stolen as part of an elaborate scheme to claim fraudulent tax refunds. He declined to say where the crime originated.
But two officials briefed on the matter tell AP the IRS believes the criminals were in Russia, based on computer data about who accessed the information. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly discuss the ongoing investigation.
The revelation highlights the global reach of many cyber criminals. And it's not the first time the IRS has been targeted by identity thieves based overseas.
RISE IN RENTERS
NEW YORK (AP) -- Renters are on the rise in America's biggest cities, but many tenants are scrambling to keep up with growing rent bills and shrinking vacancies. That's according to a new study out today.
From Boston to Miami, New York to Los Angeles, more than half of tenants are paying what experts consider unaffordable rents, says a report by New York University's Furman Center, which studies real estate and urban policy, and bank Capital One, which is a leading affordable-housing lender and financed the research.
While various housing experts have noted such trends, the study zooms in on 11 of the nation's most populous cities. Overall, it's a portrait of increasing competition and often slipping affordability. But the picture isn't universally bleak and looks noticeably different from city to city.
Capital One community finance chief Laura Baily says, "The study brings into light the limited options there are for renters."
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