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State finishes fiscal year with more money than expected

SRP panel gives final approval to $1M donationArizona is poised to end fiscal 2013 in a better position than anticipated.

The state has unexpectedly collected $200 million more than what the fiscal 2014 budget assumed.

Preliminary data showed that the state’s carry-forward balance could end up with $896 million. That’s up from the original budget cash balance estimate of $694 million.

That amount does not include the state’s rainy day fund account of $450 million.

Total revenues for the previous fiscal year are estimated to reach $9.55 billion, while spending stood at $8.65 billion.

The current budget had assumed a dwindling cash balance each year until fiscal year 2016, when the state’s cash surplus is wiped out.

Fiscal year 2013’s bigger cash balance boosts the state’s coffers and potentially will put it in a much better position in three years.

The JLBC said fiscal 2013’s revenue growth of 5.2 percent was largely driven by robust individual income tax collections, which increased by 16.3 percent.

But the budget research unit also threw in plenty of caution in its report, noting the modest showing might have been prompted by people declaring their capital gains income now rather than paying higher taxes on those gains later.

If that’s the case, there could be offsetting losses this year, the JLBC said.

Meanwhile, revenues for July inched up, as the state collected 5.4 percent more than the prior year.

But the budget research unit said the $8.7 million above the enacted forecast in July is due to unbudgeted savings, which were realized following the refinancing of lease-purchase agreements. Looking at ongoing collections alone, revenues were $1.4 million below the budget forecast.

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