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Pa. ends 2017-18 with $22M surplus

After passing a budget ahead of the June 30 deadline for the 2018-19 fiscal year, state lawmakers and the governor have another reason to celebrate this week: A budget surplus.

The state Department of Revenue on Monday said the commonwealth is projected to make a $22 million deposit into its reserve fund for the 2017-18 fiscal year, pending a final revenue deposit and year-end adjustments.

Pennsylvania ended the fiscal year June 30 with $34.6 billion in general fund collections, more than 9 percent higher than the previous year. Both sales tax and personal income tax, the two largest revenue buckets in the budget, came in ahead of estimates last year, according to revenue officials.

Sales tax collections totaled $10.4 billion, which was about $40.5 million above estimates. Personal income tax revenue ended the year at $13.4 billion, which was $94.2 million above estimate.

Meanwhile, corporate tax revenue totaled $4.9 billion, or $220.3 million below estimate, according to revenue officials.

On June 22, Gov. Tom Wolf signed the new budget, a $32.7 billion spending plan. The budget does not raise any broad-based taxes. However, it also doesn’t have a severance tax on natural gas drilling or a higher minimum wage, both items Wolf pushed for but couldn’t get out of the Republican-controlled General Assembly.

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