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California June revenue tops forecast - state controller
Wed, Jul 10 17:02 PM EDT

SAN FRANCISCO, July 10 (Reuters) - California posted $1.2 billion more in revenue in June than Governor Jerry Brown had predicted as collections from its top three sources of money beat expectations, led by revenue from personal income taxes, the state controller's office said on Wednesday.

Revenue from personal income taxes last month was $645 million above projection in the revised state budget plan Brown presented in May and $1.1 billion above its level a year earlier.

Revenue from sales taxes was $70.1 million above the revised budget plan's forecast and up $269 million from a year earlier. Revenue from corporate taxes topped the revised budget plan's estimate by $374 million and rose $448 million from a year earlier.

"Rising employment and capital gains, along with the tax increases approved by voters last November, have continued to boost California's most important revenue source," State Controller John Chiang's office said in its monthly revenue report. "Individuals' estimated income taxes in June were also well ahead of projections."

Voters in November approved a ballot measure pushed by Brown that lifted the state's sales tax and increased personal income tax rates on the wealthy to increase revenue for the state government.

The new revenue, along with spending cuts of prior years and an emphasis on restraining most spending, have bolstered California's finances.

A strengthening economy has also helped put the most populous U.S. state's finances on stronger footing. California's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May was 8.6 percent, down from 10.7 percent a year earlier.

Brown recently signed a budget for the current fiscal year, which began on July 1, that lifts general fund spending to $96.3 billion from $95.7 billion and includes a surplus of $872 million and an emergency reserve of $1.1 billion.

The budget is based on an agreement he struck with fellow Democrats who control the legislature. They were initially skeptical of Brown's cautious outlook for the state's revenue in his revised budget plan in May but accepted it last month.

Chiang's office said California's revenue for the fiscal year that ended on June 30 was $100.1 billion, which was $2.0 billion more than Brown's revised budget plan projected.

California's budget sets aside money for paying internal loans used to balance the state's books over the years. Brown aims to reduce that debt to below $5 billion in the 2016-17 fiscal year from $26.9 billion.


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