Pennsylvania’s $1.9 Billion Budget Shortfall

The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue released preliminary FY 2010-11 revenue collection. Their statement says:

Fiscal year 2010-11 General Fund collections totaled $27.5 billion, which is $785.5 million, or 2.9 percent, above estimate.

The spend-mores are saying this is a surplus. But it is not.

Final spending in 2010-11 was $28.33 billion. That is, the government spent more than it collected in taxes last year. That is a deficit, not a surplus.

Note that the $27.5 billion in collections does not reflect tax refunds, Upon request, the Department of Revenue informed us that tax refunds (for businesses and individuals) are estimated to be $1.125 billion for the last year.

So the state spent $1.95 billion more than we collected, as the table below shows, using temporary stimulus money to fill the gap. Again: There is no surplus.

2010-11 General Fund Revenue and Spending Billions of Dollars
General Fund Revenue Collections $27.50
Less Tax Refunds (Est.) $1.13
Total Revenue $26.38
General Fund Spending $28.32
Surplus (Shortfall) ($1.95)