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Zogby on the agita of projections

Published by Karen Langley on .

If there's one thing that makes Charles Zogby nervous, it's revenue projections, the Corbett budget secretary told a House panel today.

It was the last day of appropriations hearings, in which lawmakers have questioned administration officials about Gov. Tom Corbett's $28.4 billion proposal before beginning their own work on a plan for the fiscal year starting July 1.

"If there's one area that has given me agita over the past couple of years, it is in the revenue projections," Zogby said. "We're in a very volatile economy. I think that's kind of played out in the revenue projections this year."

The administration is projecting Pennsylvania will end the year $232 million over estimate, he said. But the past few months have seen an erosion in that projected surplus.

January collections were $18.8 million less than anticipated, leaving general fund revenues $152.7 million above estimate for the fiscal year to date. February collections were $47.7 million less than anticipated, leaving general fund revenues $105 million above estimate for the fiscal year.

March is a big month for collections, and budget officials will be watching closely.

"If there's one point of nervousness that I have going forward, when we think about the tax increases that the federal government imposed at the beginning of the year, the sort of brinkmanship we have with the sequester and the debt ceiling in D.C., that plays havoc on our economy," Zogby said. "People hold back, they don't spend because of the uncertainty. That plays out in our revenue estimates."

The administration is still sticking with its projections, he said, but this year is looking different than the last one, when revenues came in higher than expected.

"The risk now is to the downside," Zogby said.

 

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