Pushing the data of the Moody’s Analytics regarding Delaware being the only bad risk in the country, some other illuminating factors emerge.  The revenue data taken from our tax receipts over the past two years, portends to ever decreasing departmental budgets state wide in 2013 and 2014.

This problem will be compounded further, by this fourth quarter competing with the largess of last fourth quarter.  If you remember, incomes were very high in December 2012, as a lot of capital gains were cashed in to beat the tax increase beginning in 2013.  There was a huge flood of tax revenue that pushed up estimates, both in personal and corporate income taxes.  The December revenue was 23.3% higher than December 2011.

That largess won’t be coming in this year and we will have to deal with the difference.

Second, due to impingements to our economy, our tax revenue will be under last year.

Delaware employment is growing slowly.  Yet there are only 18 states with a total unemployment (U6) higher.  As a result, personal income tax revenue is down.  This was compounded by a tax decrease recently given to the top 1% of earners. Passage of this tax rate decrease, means those who were the only people actually gaining income, will now, not be paying any of their increases into the treasury, as is being required of everyone else.

Across the nation, total state tax revenues first quarter 2013 rose 6.8%.  Across the nation state income taxes grew 18.4%, state corporate taxes grew 9.4%, and state sales taxes grew 5.5%  ….  Delaware does not have a sales tax.

Only 6 states had declines in personal income tax that same quarter.  Delaware led the pack as having the largest decline at 15.8%. States less shy about raising taxes, California and New York had the highest gains.  $6.3 billion and $1 billion respectively.  Incidentally as correctly predicted by the kavips economic model, both economies are thriving.

Based on withholding data, Delaware’s amount withheld dropped from a 9.3% increase in last quarter 2012, to a 2.0 increase in first quarter 2013, both over the previous year.  At the outset, the potential exists for a loss of that 7.3% difference in fourth quarter 2013.

The wealthy pay in the form of estimated payments.  They don’t use withholding.  The average estimated payment’s percentage increase over 2012, was 12.2%.  However the 4th quarter payment was a jump of 23.3% over the fourth quarter of the previous year.  Meaning the average of the previous 3 quarters was a negative or -3.7% from the year 2011.  Only that windfall of the fourth quarter, driven primarily by federal tax changes, gave Delaware its positive increase in estimated payments for 2012. Bottom line.  We were lucky. First quarter 2013, they are up 7.9% in comparison.

Corporate tax.  Overall across the nation, corporate tax increased by 9,4% this first quarter of 2013 over the same quarter last year. 30 out of the 46 states that have corporate income taxes showed increases. 16 of them were double digit increases.  Virginia suffered the largest decline: $87 million.  New York showed the biggest gain:  $239 million.

Tax Revenue is directly related to economic growth.  Growing economies increase personal income taxes and sales taxes as income gets spent. Delaware’s economy is estimated by the Federal Reserve of Philadelphia for the three months prior to June 2013, to lie between the growth rates of 0.1% and 0.5%.

Take the first quarter of 2013.  It is a harbinger of things to come….  In Delaware, the amounts collected Jan-March.

  • Personal income tax:  2012 = $411 million   2013 = $346 million …. drop of $65 million or -15.8%
  • Corporate income tax: 2012 = $65 million    2013 = $73 million …. increase of $8 million or 12.3%
  • Total with other (fees) included:  2012 = $956 million  2013= $883 million…. drop of $73 million or -7.6%….

Our current state budget is running $73 million in the red based on actual versus revenue projections.  And this does not even include the fourth quarter drop off. Delaware was one of only 5 states capturing less personal income taxes in 2013’s first quarter than in 2012. Rhode Island, Indiana, Utah, West Virginia were its team mates. Delaware lost $65 million (-15.8%); West Virginia was second losing a comparative paltry $21 million. or -5.4%.  The others:  Rhode Island -$13 million (-6.4%); Indiana -$5 million (0.5%); Utah -3 million (0.6%)

It was estimated that over the year Delaware’s tax decrease would cost the state $70-80 million.  if averaged per quarter, that would be $17 to $20 million lost to the state every 65 working days.

One would conclude that a big part of Delaware’s state revenue problem is a direct result of that tax break we handed over to the top percent of Delawareans…. There are 15 states with higher top marginal tax rates than Delaware.  All but one of them (Idaho) are showing better growth than Delaware.  The belief that lower taxes creates jobs and better state economies does not agree with reality experienced by other states on a daily basis.

Again, the national economy as a whole is looking better.  Delaware is looking like the exception.  After the Great Recession the national total of state revenues dropped for 5 consecutive quarters. The national total of all state’s revenues has since grown 13 consecutive quarters…

The same criticism that applied to Obama after the Obamacare vote, applies now to Markell after the SB 165 vote.  Instead of trying to fix something that was working fine, one’s attention should have been spent on all that which isn’t (working fine)….

Recommendations for 2014:

Go to multiple tiered tax rates:

  • 10% on $1 million or more
  • 9% on $500,000 or more
  • 8% on $250,000 or more
  • 7% on $125,000 or more
  • 6.75% on $60,000 or more
  • Spend most of our money on Delaware’s people.  Hire empty positions. Keep the money here in state as much as possible.
  • Cut out from budget most consulting fees for out-of-state entities.
  • No hiring of outside specialists or corporate buddies.
  • Add more teachers, firemen, policemen where needed.
  • Push for building an offshore wind farm; override all Pepco’s objections.
Advertisements