Gov. Chris Christie’s administration said March 15 that state tax revenues shot up 31 percent in February from the same month last year and that revenues are now exceeding the state’s new projected growth rate for the fiscal year.
That state had collected $17.5 billion in total taxes during the first eight months of the fiscal year, a 5.1 percent increase. It was tracking well ahead of its new projected growth rate of 4 percent, up from 3.6 percent.
The latest revenue report from the treasury department factors in tax changes that were made last year, including the 37-cent-per-gallon increase in the state’s gas tax. The new fuel taxes were partially responsible for the revenue bump in February, when the state collected $103.5 million from its petroleum products gross receipts tax, a 486 percent increase. But that alone did not explain why the state’s coffers increased last month. Even as corporate business tax revenue fell 567 percent — landing in the red by $45 million — gross income taxes surged nearly 80 percent, to $955 million.
What may contribute to part of this picture – the state’s decision to delay refunds until March 1 as the Division of Taxation worked to improve anti-fraud measures.