October, the fourth month of the state’s fiscal year, continued the long pattern of tax revenue running well in excess of both last year and budget estimates.
Gross revenue in the month of about $710 million was 11 percent more than the same month a year ago and 10 percent above the estimate.
The estimates are designed to be too low. That allows Republicans to argue we are overtaxed. It inspires others to think about underpaid teachers, stuffed prisons, inadequate probation services, a long waiting list for disabled people needing home care, hunger problems, maternal and infant mortality and lots more. These people say the state could and should be doing more.
The net revenue for the month — the amount after mandatory distributions off the top — came in $49.2 million above the forecast on which state spending is based. So it added to a surplus for the year that is now $224 million and likely to rise much higher. (And this isn’t the only surplus hidden around state government. There’s a huge reserve fund. A giant surplus at the education department. And other unspent balances.