Idaho revenue collections well ahead of forecast

·2 min read

Jun. 10—More tax relief could be in store for Idahoans next year, after state revenue collections came in nearly $600 million ahead of forecast in May.

During a news conference in Coeur d'Alene on Wednesday, Gov. Brad Little hinted that the rosy revenue situation could pave the way for additional tax relief, as well as further investments in education, roads, clean water and broadband infrastructure.

"Years of fiscal conservatism, swift action during the pandemic, few COVID-19 restrictions, responsible allocation of federal relief dollars and our relentless focus on cutting red tape are the reasons Idaho's economy is catapulting ahead of other states right now," he said.

The state collected $844.6 million in total tax revenue in May, including $637 million in individual income tax and $179.4 million in sales tax. That compares to a forecast of $259 million.

The May revenues benefited from a one-month extension in the corporate and individual income tax filing deadline. April revenues fell $179 million short of forecast, largely because of that move. However, the May revenues more than made up the difference.

Through the first 11 months of fiscal 2021, the state has collected a record $4.54 billion in tax revenue. That's up 39 percent from the same period last year, and it's $670.5 million, or 17.3 percent, ahead of forecast.

The current estimated ending balance for fiscal 2021 is $809.9 million, which would be the largest in state history.

Earlier this year, the Legislature approved a record $383 million in one-time and ongoing income tax relief, plus some more modest property tax relief.

If revenues continue to "blow past projections," Little said, he'll advocate for additional tax relief next year, as well as "strategic investments in key areas, with education topping the priority list."

The governor informed state agencies last week that he wants to keep state spending "lean" next year, in order to make meaningful investments in education and to maintain a structurally balanced budget in which ongoing expenses are supported by ongoing revenues.

The complete May revenue report can be found online, at dfm.idaho.gov.

Spence may be contacted at bspence@lmtribune.com or (208) 791-9168.