by Max Brantley
The closely watched monthly report on state tax revenue again tells a contradictory tale in January:
Net and gross revenues were up sharply against both the same month last year and the forecast. (Gross up 5.5 percent over last year and 6.3 percent over forecast.)
The increase was driven by a 10 percent surge in income tax collections (and a decline in refunds), which the Finance and Administration Department attributed to income shifting into tax year 2012 to avoid federal income tax law changes. The sales tax, a pretty good barometer of baseline economic activity, was off again. — 1 percent less than last year and 5 percent below forecast. Happy days are not yet here again, it wouldn't appear.