New Jersey income tax collections up, jobless rate down in April
(Reuters) - New Jersey's unemployment rate dropped to 8.7 percent in April and personal income tax collections rose 29.1 percent to $2.23 billion from the same month last April, state data show.
The revenue increase, along with the third consecutive monthly decline in the jobless rate, are good news for New Jersey's economy, which has struggled to recover from the recession.
So far this fiscal year, New Jersey has taken in $9.6 billion in personal income tax revenue, 12.8 percent greater than the same period last year, state Treasury Department numbers showed on Thursday.
Total revenues were up 20 percent in April compared with the same month last year and up 6.9 percent for the fiscal year-to-date to $20.7 billion.
New Jersey's rise in April personal income tax collections was about on par with a Thomson Reuters sampling of other U.S. states, which had a median 24.4 percent increase, excluding California's dramatic 74 percent spike.
Across the country, however, the improvements might not continue as a still-shaky economy, tax cuts in some states and federal budget woes could depress revenue growth.
The good news also comes with another hitch: The surge stems in part from taxpayers who pushed income ahead into 2012 to avoid federal tax hikes that took effect in January, according to the report this month from the Rockefeller Institute of Government, an independent research group in Albany, New York.
"The temptation will be (for states) to treat it as recurring revenue available to support ongoing spending, or available for tax cuts," wrote the report's authors, Don Boyd and Lucy Dadayan. "Caution is in order."
In New Jersey, Christie has renewed pressure on state Democrats to implement a tax cut, similar to one they prevented last year because the state's revenues had not improved enough.
(Reporting by Hilary Russ. Editing by Andre Grenon)
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