State Treasurer John Schroder estimates the state will have an over 300 million dollar budget surplus from last fiscal year after revenues out performed expectations. However, the final audit results won’t be ready until October, and Schroder says they’ll have to figure out just how the state stumbled into so much cash.
“I don’t know yet exactly where that money came from, whether It was extra revenue that came in through the different ways that revenue enters the state, or unspent money.
Schroder says having a significant surplus isn’t a good look for a state that just renewed hundreds of millions in expired sales taxes in the last legislative session.
“There was a lot of heartburn and anxiety that legislators went through to raise those taxes, only to find we have a surplus of this size.”
Schroder says if this kind of excess revenue is projected to continue in future years, he would advocate lowering the sales tax rate.
There’s tight, constitutional limits on just how this cash can get spent, which means it can’t be dropped straight into the state general fund for this year, but Schroder says after surveying the options, he’s got a few recommendations.
“We out to take all of that money and stick it in rainy day, which will help out bond rating, or pay down pension debt, things that are going to save this state money.”
Edwards administration spokesperson Richard Carbo confirmed the surplus exists, but says any estimates before the audit is finished are premature.