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Pennsylvania's Tax Collections Suffer For 3rd Straight Month

Pennsylvania state government's revenue shortfall grew in May to $2.6 billion, as the effects of the state's coronavirus-related shutdowns and delayed tax-filing deadlines hammered tax collections for a third straight month.

The state collected $2.1 billion in May, which was $440 million, or 17%, less than projected at the beginning of the fiscal year, the state Department of Revenue said Monday.

Through 11 months of the fiscal year, the state's collections of $29.6 billion is $2.6 billion, or 8%, below projections. The department estimates that most of that gap can be attributed to moving tax-filing deadlines to July or later.

With uncertainty over July tax collections and whether the federal government will send budget aid to states, Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday signed a piecemeal, no-new-taxes $25.8 billion budget approved by lawmakers. Pennsylvania is operating under a $34 billion budget through June 30.

The spending legislation carries full-year money for many public school budget lines, as well as for state-supported universities, debt service and school pension obligations. But it funds much of the rest of the state’s operating budget lines, including billions for social services, only through Nov. 30, the last day of the two-year legislative session.

Meanwhile, Wolf also signed legislation to distribute about $2.6 billion in emergency federal coronavirus aid to counties, nursing homes, small businesses and other causes.

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