Sunday, November 29, 2015

City revenues holding up

Proceeds from the city's major taxes are still running ahead of estimates

City revenues holding up

PICA chairman Sam Katz.
PICA chairman Sam Katz.

So far, so good on the city’s revenue estimates this year.

The latest monthly analysis from PICA, the state agency overseeing city finances, says that the city’s tax collections in January continued to exceed last year’s figures and the estimates built into this year’s city budget.  That’s good news for the city’s bean-counters, but also speaks well for an improving economic climate inside the city.

Through January, the first seven months of the fiscal year, wage and earnings tax receipts were up 5.3 percent compared to last year, to $932 million.   The city’s budget anticipated a 2.3 percent increase  for the full fiscal year, ending June 30.

Sales tax collections through January reached $147 million, up 3.1 percent from last year, compared to 2.3 percent in the city’s estimate, and real estate transfer tax collections reached $82.7 million, a 16.7 percent boost from 2012, compared to 4.3 percent in the city’s estimates.

Among other city revenue sources, two are running behind estimates: the parking tax, up 2.2 percent from last year but below the city’s 3.1 percent forecast, and the amusement tax, down 2.9 percent from last year while the city estimates a 0.7 percent boost for the year.

The best remedy for both parking and amusement shortfalls would be strong performances from the city sports team, filling their venues and parking lots.

Income from other major taxes -- real estate, business income and receipts and net profits -- doesn't usually reflect trends until March and April, when the bulk of the money falls due.

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The Philadelphia Inquirer's Chris Hepp, Tricia Nadolny, Julia Terruso, and Claudia Vargas take you inside Philadelphia's City Hall.

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