…But We’re Smoking Less!
Despite multiple spring snowstorms, South Dakotans still got out and shopped more than expected in April. The latest state revenue report says that we coughed up 3.7% more sales tax last month than in April 2017 and 1.5% more than the Legislature’s revised target.
Unfortunately, revenues fell enough in other categories to leave us 1.5% behind where the Legislature was hoping we’d be in April:
89% of the April shortfall may be ascribed to a glitch in alcohol beverage tax arising from “timing of receipts.” Perhaps we can assume a good chunk of that loss will be backfilled in May.
For the year we’ve slipped a little further down from where we were in March:
With two months to go, we’re in the hole $3.748 million, 0.28% shy of the revised Legislative target… nothing that a sunny May and June won’t fix by bringing a few more tourists to Sioux Falls. (The Climate Prediction Center says the next month offers a slight chance of above-normal rain and a slightly better chance of above-normal temps.)
Among the underperforming taxes are our tobacco taxes, which continue their long-term decline. Down 5.12% from the revised FY2018 target, our tobacco taxes are on pace to deliver $50.8 million for the fiscal year, which would be a 10.6% drop from last year’s total, the biggest drop in the last decade. Dang: if market and social pressures are already driving down tobacco use, G. Mark Mickelson’s IM 25 buck-a-pack tax could push a lot more smokers to quit and leave the vo-techs with less additional revenue for tuition relief than Mickelson is promising.