State officials last week proclaimed that Georgia has finally emerged from its fiscal doldrums, following the fifth straight month of improved revenues.
"Since both the economy and revenues appear to be strengthening, I am encouraged to believe that our budgetary plans for fiscal 1993 will be fulfilled without interruption," said Gov. Zell Miller.
His comments followed state Revenue Commissioner Marcus Collins's release of a final tally of state revenues in May. Totaling $530.7 million, the revenues marked a 6.8%, or $33.9 million, increase over May 1991.
The report shows gains in three of the state's top four revenue-producing areas: individual income taxes collected surged 7.7%, or $14.7 million; sales taxes increased 7.3%, or $16.8 million; and motor fuel taxes were up 0.5%, or $141,600. Corporate income tax collections, however, dropped 2.6%, or $297,000.
Revenue increases have now exceeded 1991 levels by at least 6% for the third straight month. In the first 11 months of the current fiscal year, ending June 30, total tax collection exceeded 1991 revenues by 1.2%, or $77 million. The state's 1992 fiscal year budget has been based on 1.8% growth.
But the recent fiscal gains come at the end of a tough year. Last summer, the Georgia General Assembly cut the budget by over $400 million and furloughed 600 employees. Lower than expected collections then continued through December 1991.
Accordingly, in order for the state to avoid further cuts, growth of more than 6% must continue this month.
Revenue growth must also be sustained next year because the state's $8.2 billion fiscal 1993 budget is based on anticipated revenue growth of 6.8%.