As the 2023 fiscal year comes to a close in about 60 days on June 30, 2023 for the State of Utah, projections for another possible budget surplus start to become a bit more clear. Towards the end of the Legislative session this year, the Executive Appropriations Committee established its revenue forecast for the end of fiscal year 2023.
The projection for the general fund and education fund combined currently sits at $11,658,813,000 billion. It was raised significantly to that level after previous projections turned out to be far too conservative. So, where do things stand with just a few months left in the fiscal year? The short answer is – fairly strong, but further data is needed.
With 8 out of 12 months of data established, total collections so far are at about $7.2 billion versus about $6.1 billion at the same time last year. The large portion of tax collections made up of income tax is broken into two categories: withholdings from paychecks, and final tax payments for those who pay taxes in pieces (self-employed for example). Withholding amounts have been steadily climbing in Utah for the past several years and that trend continues.
However, the final payments figure has been very volatile in recent years. In fiscal years 2021 and 2022 the amount of final payments soared from the typical several hundred million dollar range to over $2 billion dollars annually. Many believe that figure will come down significantly now that the stock and real estate markets have cooled off. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, the final payment numbers for the April tax season have not been released yet.
Those numbers will play a large role in determining the size of the next income tax cut. Another substantial surplus would justify a substantial cut. Once those figures are released, the Utah Taxpayers Association will provide another update for taxpayers.