Georgia state revenues: continued but slowing growth in May

Well this is something that numbers wonks like me could get used to. In Tuesday’s press release about May’s state revenue, the Georgia Department of Revenue included far more graphs and charts than I’ve ever seen.

Check out the full release here.

Every now and then, I get questions about state revenue, and people are often surprised to see what a large portion of it comes from just two sources: personal income taxes and sales taxes. That’s pretty clear in the pie chart below, which covers the first 10 months of the 2011 fiscal year (it ends June 30th):

There is also a plethora of bar graphs in the pdf, but here’s the most relevant one. Please note that the 2011 fiscal year still has a month to go. That means revenue will be above the 2010 level, but will still be below the 2009 level.

For the fiscal year-to-date, 2011 revenues are up 8% over 2010. That’s good news for education and other major areas of state expenditures, but it’s also reflective of a solid rebound in the economy. Income taxes are great gauges of total wages, and sales taxes are great gauges of consumer activity. The worrisome — and totally unsurprising — news in the latest release is that while year-to-date revenues are up 8%, May’s year-over-year increase was only 2.5%. Gross sales and use taxes increased only 3.2% and individual income taxes, which have a tendency to be a little noisy month to month, declined slightly compared to 2010.

Yes, it’s a recovery, but it might be one that’s losing steam. Here’s some of the raw data: