Tax collections beat forecasts — but most of the money is spoken for

(UPDATED, 4:22 p.m., May 9, with corrected numbers from the state Division of Financial Management. The story is edited throughout)

First, the good news: Idaho’s revenue collections for the all-important month of April topped projections by $49.6 million.

Now, the bottom line: Almost all of the money is already spoken for.

When they wrapped up their business for 2017 by passing a complicated highway funding package, lawmakers earmarked much of their newfound revenue into a so-called “surplus eliminator.” The renewed surplus eliminator will gobble up $39.2 million of the newfound revenue; this money will be split into between infrastructure projects and the state’s rainy-day fund.

Another $7.4 million will go into Idaho’s Consumer Protection Fund.

That leaves only $2.9 million that will stay in Idaho’s general fund — and could be up for grabs to fund education and other state programs, or bankroll tax cuts.

With two months left in the 2016-17 budget year, the state is now on track to close the year with a $76.4 million cash balance.

April is a key month in the state budget year, because revenues include the last-minute surge of income tax payments. All told, Idaho collected $529.2 million in revenues for the month.

Kevin Richert

About Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on KIVI 6 On Your Side; "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television; and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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