General fund surplus hits $1.35B through first 8 months of budget year

The state Capitol on March 16, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The state’s general fund surplus reached $1.35 billion in March, the eighth month of the budget year.

Sales taxes, which make up the vast majority of general fund revenues, were $40 million more than projected for the month and have accounted for $941 million of the surplus to date. Corporate franchise and excise taxes were $69 million more than expected in March, and $419 million over estimates for the year.

Here’s the full release from the state Finance Department:

Department of Finance and Administration Commissioner Butch Eley today announced that Tennessee tax revenues exceeded budgeted estimates in March. Overall March revenues totaled $1.26 billion, which is $57.1 million or 4.75 percent more than the state received in March of 2020 and $112.1 million more than the budgeted estimate for the month.

“Most of the growth in March can be attributed to sales and use taxes, corporate taxes and business taxes, which have been strong contributors to revenue growth for most of the year, “ Eley said. “March sales tax revenues, based on February sales tax activity, were positive across all industries except the restaurant and food services industry and apparel and accessories retailers. Additionally, sales tax receipts for the month were supported by approximately $39.7 million from remote sales and marketplace facilitator laws. To date, online sales tax revenues have accounted for about 65.4 percent of all sales tax growth to the state.

“We continue to be pleased with the overall growth in total taxes this fiscal year and we are encouraged at the prospect of future growth as Tennesseans become more comfortable resuming some activities. We are optimistic but cautious in anticipation of revenues in the months ahead.”

On an accrual basis, March is the eighth month in the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

General fund revenues were $115.2 million more than the budgeted estimate while the four other funds that share in state tax revenues were $3.1 million less than the estimates.

Sales tax revenues were $40.4 million more than the estimate for March and were 7.45 percent more than March 2020. For eight months revenues are $940.8 million more than estimated. The year-to-date growth rate for eight months was 7.15 percent.

Franchise and excise tax revenues combined were $69.1 million more than the budgeted estimate in March and the growth rate was 7.54 percent. For eight months, revenues are $419.1 million more than the estimate and the year-to-date growth rate is 4.85 percent.

Gasoline and motor fuel revenues for March decreased by 9.44 percent compared to March 2020 and were $6.3 million less than the budgeted estimate of $87 million. For eight months, fuel tax revenues are below estimate by $16.4 million.

Motor vehicle registration revenues were $2.2 million more than the March estimate, and on a year-to-date basis they are $9 million more than estimates.

Tobacco tax revenues were $1 million more than the March budgeted estimate of $18.6 million. For eight months, revenues are $8 million more than the year-to-date budgeted estimate.

Privilege tax revenues were $2.9 million more than the March estimate. On a year-to-date basis, August through March, revenues are $58.2 million more than the estimate.

Business tax revenues were $6.3 million more than the March estimate. For eight months, revenues are $27.1 million more than the budgeted estimate.

Hall income tax revenues for the month were $0.5 million more than the budgeted estimate. For eight months, revenues closely match the year-to-date budgeted estimate.

Mixed drink, or liquor-by-the-drink, taxes were $2.4 million less than the March estimate, and on a year-to-date basis, revenues are 23.5 million less than the budgeted estimate.

All other taxes were less than budgeted estimates by a net of $1.6 million.
Year-to-date revenues, August through March, are $1.42 billion more than the budgeted estimate. The growth rate for eight months is 4.97 percent. General fund revenues are $1.35 billion more than the budgeted estimate and the four other funds are $69.4 million more than estimated.

The budgeted revenue estimates for 2020-2021 are based on the State Funding Board’s consensus recommendation of November 26, 2019 and adopted by the second session of the 111th General Assembly in June 2020. Also incorporated in the estimates are any changes in revenue enacted during the 2020 session of the General Assembly. These estimates are available on the state’s website at https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/finance/fa/fa-budget-information/fa-budget-rev.html.

42 Responses to General fund surplus hits $1.35B through first 8 months of budget year

  • Avatar
    Beatrice Shaw says:

    Send the money to us, please, Health care, food, economic relief.

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      I have a better idea Beatrice, stop taking so much of OUR money in the first place. Eliminate the middle government so to speak. SMART!

  • Avatar
    Not that Stuart guy says:

    Time to give it back. Lower the sales tax on food.

    • Avatar
      Eddie White says:

      Let’s do better than that, let’s eliminate the sales tax on food. To be running large surpluses on taxpayer dollars means it is time to return some of it to the taxpayers in the form of tax cuts.

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    This is proof that we are Taxed Too Much.

  • Avatar
    steve cates says:

    Then for God’s sake, do some things for poor folks in TN, like lowering or removing the sales tax on FOOD, for instance. Come on, republicans! Can your hearts be that hard – permanently!!??

    • Avatar
      MARLE says:

      If poor folks went to public school then taxpayers already did Plenty for them. They spent 10K Per Yr for year on Them (ditto that for any siblings and children). They did that so that they wouldn’t BE poor.

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      I hear your plaintive cry steve! Don’t you worry, we conservatives have a plan. Besides the 3 1/2 Lamars Retirement Project we are going to try to make as many stalwart conservatives as possible victorious in the Republican primaries in 2022 then in the general election to follow. We should capture control of at least the House so we can defund the demented Big Guy’s open border policies that allow so many illegals to barge into this country taking jobs away from the “poor folks in TN” whose plight so upsets you steve.

      It’s the demented Big Guy whose lust for power through “fundamentally changing” the electorate that is causing our unskilled “poor in TN” to be deprived of jobs they are just chomping at the bit to fill who has a sclerotic “hard heart”. We conservatives feel your pain steve and we’re coming to the rescue!

      • Avatar
        MARLE says:

        In GA to wrest the seat from Warnock ( after Trump created that victory) Repub are tying to decide between No-record Navy Seal and a similarly positioned ex-football player. But both are Trumpidians.

        You’re making quite the difference, Stuart.

        • Avatar
          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          I don’t know why you are connecting the Georgia race to me. The 3 1/2 Lamars Retirement Project only concerns the three totally worthless Republican senators retiring from their seats in the U.S. Senate representing North Carolina, Ohio, and Missouri along with tepid conservative Shelby (Heritage-71%) from Alabama.

          I’m totally unfamiliar with the Georgia race except I did hear that the football player (Heschel Walker(?)) was running. I know nothing about the Navy Seal. I’m afraid that we will simply have to accept that we have to have the Trumpidians enthusiastically on board if Republicans are to have any chance of winning in states where Trump is particularly popular. We saw what happens in Georgia when the Trumpidians get angry and stay home.

          • Avatar
            Taxpayer #314 says:

            So it is OK with you that people “will just have to accept that we have to have the Trumpidians enthusiastically on board if republicans have any chance of winning…”
            You are ready to sell out the country to a man that was twice impeached, was responsible for 1/2 Million dead Americans and also initiated & supported an insurrection riot at our Capitol simply because he can not accept his defeat. What you “saw in Georgia” was the voting public turning out in huge numbers ignoring needless Trumped-up hardships during the election; they totally rejected the racist attacks on voter suppression by the conservative Governor & Trump. The people voted to reject the Conservatives AND the Republicans and turned the state of GA BLUE and flipped the US Senate Blue also. It had a lot to do with telling the TRUTH, or not! That is what “you saw in GA.” and when you wake up tomorrow, that same hard truth will still be right there staring you and your voting totals in the face. Dream on Stuart!

        • Avatar
          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          I was hoping Doug Collins (Heritage-81%) would run again against Warnock. Probably felt he couldn’t beat Walker.

          • Avatar
            Taxpayer #314 says:

            Stuart, Hoping and Wishing will never gain quarters over the simple truth, never has, never will.

        • Avatar
          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          Trump may have been a negative force in the Georgia runoffs but he will hopefully be a positive force in Wyoming where tepid conservative Liz Cheney (Heritage–72%) is an electoral dead woman walking. This is WYOMING folks where being a tepid conservative is inexcusable! The only way Cheney is re-elected is if the half dozen or so candidates reportedly running against her so split the “Cheney Must Go” vote so that she sneaks through. Here’s where The Donald comes in, word is he will personally pick the candidate to carry the anti-Cheney banner which will be sign for the others to drop out or not declare. On way or the other Cheney must go as we move the Republican Party RIGHTWARD, RIGHTWARD, RESOLUTELY RIGHTWARD.

          • Avatar
            Taxpayer #314 says:

            Looking for conservative votes in TN to get people elected in Wyoming, sound like a good plan.

          • Avatar
            MARLE says:

            Trump is going to pick the candidates Everywhere. And he’ll not care if they have a record Or Not. And he won’t care if they want smaller government with less debt, Or Not.

            And he won’t care if they want an Unfair tax code Or Not. And he won’t care if they call for illegals to have a path to citizenship (all 20M of them as Marsha wants) Or Not.

            All he cares about is calling the shots for more tax breaks for himself and a bigger military Which HE doesn’t pay taxes to support (since the military is 100% supported by the Fed Income Tax).

            So…welcome to the age of Republicans Still being led around by Trump from now on.

          • Avatar
            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            I am sorry to say MARLE I agree. Now the trick is to somehow make adherence to conservative ideology the motivating force of the Republican Party while using Trump as sort of a booster rocket to assist while we patiently inject conservatism into the Trumpidians so that they substitute table thumping conservatism for Trumo’s cult of personality once Trump is gone. Wow! I’ll have to think about how to pull that off.

          • Avatar
            Stuart I. Anderson says:

            Practically speaking things do usually turn out for the best. The most rabid Trumpidians are usually the most conservative and the never Trumpers usually come from the centrist/tepid conservative wing of the Party. While everything you said about Trump’s being non-ideological in his endorsements is true, in fact, he will usually endorse the most conservative candidate at the end or the day. At least we have reason to hope that’s the way it turns out.

          • Avatar
            Taxpayer #314 says:

            The latest polls tell a different story folks. Since the Biden election, across America in general, Republicans have lost about 7-8% of their members and the Democrats have added about the same amount of new voters to the rolls. Trump and his dirty, unethical, and repetitive deeds has “woke” so many folks from his own party. Talk about going down with the ship? Hang on tight, conservatives!

          • Avatar
            Eddie White says:

            Glad to see Stuart that you have finally figured that out. That has been true of the Trump endorsements from the get go.

          • Avatar
            Cryan says:

            Eddie, I’m glad Stuart and you admit you don’t know what “conservative” means. Donald Trump has fathered many aborted fetuses. He endorses people who grab his p**** and scare the Boomers on OANN and Facebook. He doesn’t care about conservatives.

            Child sex trafficker Matt Gaetz and adulteress Marjorie Taylor Green are not conservative. They are Qunts.

  • Avatar
    Cryan says:

    Tennessee ranks 45-50th in almost every category imaginable. Bill Lee isn’t going to give up our only #1 designation as state with the highest sales tax. A win is a win.

  • Avatar
    LeeAnn C says:

    That’s why businesses and people in general are moving to this fiscally healthy state. This provides ample job opportunities to help the poor, for whom some on this thread are concerned. Nice to have some good news today!

  • Avatar
    Jonathan Swift says:

    So the party of low taxes, individual freedom, and less government keeps finding ways to rob us through excess taxes on everything, while doling out rewards to various cronies and supporters.

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      In politics I’m afraid most things are relative and it’s relative to the liberal/leftist control freaks in the Democratic Party that finds the Republicans “. . .the party of low taxes, individual freedom, and less government. . . .” Hopefully Jonathan you can lend your support to the conservative movement that is trying to make the Republican Party a party more energetically devoted to those policies and less of simply a sluice “. . .doling out rewards to various cronies and supporters.”

      • Avatar
        MARLE says:

        In actuality Republicans have become the party of Virtually Zero taxes for the connected, Freedom with no financial obligation to pay for the consequences, and Less-government-than-the-other guy which should not be confused with Less Government.

      • Avatar
        MARLE says:

        When you misrepresent the facts of the matter You lose, rather than gain, adherents.

        • Avatar
          Taxpayer #314 says:

          Excellent point, Marle! Stuart just can not seem to get that truth requirement through his thick skull. Politicians that “misrepresent” facts, we don’t need, ever, in any party, in Nashville or Washington.

      • Avatar
        Jonathan Swift says:

        Stuart, surely you recognize sarcasm. Republicans are clearly NOT the party of low taxes, individual freedom, and less government, even though that’s what they tirelessly claim. As we continually see on this blog, Tennessee Republicans always find time to make more laws, many of which restrict our freedom and economic competition. The huge surplus of money held by the state proves that taxes are too high, even after doling out funds to Friends of Bill.

        • Avatar
          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          I basically agree Jonathan, my only point was that relative to the control freaks on the left in the Democratic Party Republicans are ” . . .the party of low taxes, individual freedom, and less government. . . .” in our two party politics so that if you want those things then vote Republican AND work to make the Republican Party more conservative so that it will be more the party that governs that way.

  • Avatar
    Phillip Lassiter says:

    Saw where steve Cohen has Bill in Congress to do away with electoral college. Tennessee will be behind that with the leadership we have. Speaker of House has tried it for years

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    You know what they say: Politics is not the Oldest Profession, but it does have a lot of similarities.

  • Avatar
    Taxpayer #314 says:

    With all the lawsuits working their way through the various courts across the country, Trump could be serving time before the next election comes up!

  • Avatar
    Cannoneer2 says:

    The Most Important Road In Tennessee is being worked on again this weekend. There is a traffic jam on Nashville’s south loop so that TDOT can repair the bridge at Wedgewood Ave.

    • Avatar
      Cryan says:

      How could Nashville, a liberal ghetto with no economic contribution to the state of Tennessee, have a traffic jam? That must be all the people fleeing. As a gullible Trumpidian and Q-Patriot, I form my opinions based on what Stuart I Anderson tells me to think.

      Therefore, I believe that road money would be better spent in one of the top GOP counties – maybe Scott or Wayne.

      But the really important people don’t need road money spent at all. And by the most important people, I mean the various out-of-state entrepreneurs and fellow Q-Patriots who start virtual online schools to enroll Davidson and Shelby county students.

      What would Jesus (Bill Lee) do? $7,400 a pop to the Devos Q-Patriots. Amen.

      #WWG1WGA

      • Avatar
        Cannoneer2 says:

        It’s all of the Williamson Countians traveling back and forth from downtown. They must demand perfection on their stretch of I-65. Those of us who go east on I-40 know that 65 is a hell of a lot better maintained, thanks to TDOT.

        • Avatar
          Cryan says:

          Oh well, if they’re happy then let them pretend to be rich on a maxed out AMEX at their crappy mall. The actual rich people enjoy living in the Four Seasons Nashville or a Belle Meade estate and shopping at Green Hills Mall, Nashville. They wouldn’t be caught dead at the JC Penney or Chili’s at Cool Springs.

          Stuart, all those Williamson County shopping centers you consider an indicator of good Republican government will be dead in 10-15 years anyway. And Brentwood will actually be a ghetto inhabited by fragile white minorities in their dilapidated McMansions built in the early 2000s with cheap materials and loose building codes.

          I’d roll my windows up driving through there.

          #WilliamsonWhiteTrash
          #TrashyBillLee
          #MarshaBlackburnQunt

  • Avatar
    Taxpayer #314 says:

    You all are screaming for better roads and that is precisely what the Republicans are saying they WILL NOT SUPPORT!

  • Avatar
    Taxpayer #314 says:

    Our Dear Marsha is badgering her fellow delegates to restart the construction on the useless Trumpty Dumpty Wall. That is her idea of infrastructure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *