Mining tax shortfall not as bad as looks

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The Economic Forum was told this week the $70 million shortfall in the net proceeds of the mining tax doesn’t actually mean the state is short that much money.

The budget was built using a projection of $95.7 million in mining tax revenue but the actual amount deposited with the Controller this year was just $21.3 million.

“We’re going to miss the net proceeds of minerals projection by $74.4 million,” Legislative Counsel Bureau Economist Russell Guindon told the forum.

But he said offsetting that is the fact other revenues which flow to the General Fund were up $27.4 million with a month left in the fiscal year. He said that brings the net deficit for this fiscal year down to $47 million.

“The $47 million number seemed vaguely familiar,” he said.

It was, Guindon said, close to his estimate the state’s revenue collections were $46 million ahead of projections when fiscal 2013 ended last June 30.

Matching the 2013 surplus to the 2014 deficit makes the whole thing pretty much a wash.

Those figures, he said, are based on nine or 10 months of the major revenue streams reported for the year and three quarters of the revenue numbers for those sources reported quarterly.

That doesn’t count the fact 2013 revenues were actually $28 million higher than the $46 million Guindon referred to.

By statute, that $28 million was siphoned off and put into the state’s Rainy Day Fund — the pot of money the state tries to build up over time in case of a fiscal emergency. Lawmakers and Gov. Brian Sandoval emptied the Rainy Day Fund at the end of the 2013 Legislature to balance the budget.


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