PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The flush days on Smith Hill aren’t over yet.
The number-crunchers who took part in the state’s semiannual Revenue Estimating Conference announced Thursday that state revenue should be $359 million higher in the current 2022-23 budget year than they had projected the last time they met in May.
The above-forecast tax receipts give Gov. Dan McKee and state lawmakers plenty of flexibility as they prepare to make major spending decisions in the coming months. The budget surplus for the 2021-22 fiscal year, which ended June 30, already came in $206 million higher than expected, as well.
The governor and lawmakers are required to use the Revenue Estimating Conference’s twice-a-year forecasts when they put together the annual state budget. The November estimates are used to create the governor’s initial proposal, due in January. Then those numbers are updated in May so that lawmakers can use the revised figures to finish the final budget, usually completed in June.
The entire state budget this year is $13.6 billion, of which 42% is federal funds.
The new estimates show state general revenue is projected to increase slightly this budget year versus last year, from $5.2 billion in 2021-22 to $5.26 billion in 2022-23 — a major improvement from the May forecast, which suggested revenue would actually drop to $4.9 billion this year.
From there, revenue is expected to rise by about $23.5 million more in the 2023-24 budget year, to $5.28 billion. (Budget years run from July 1 to June 30.)
Put another way, state general revenue is projected to rise by about $76 million over two years. (The category of “general revenue” excludes some other significant sources of state revenue, such as the gas tax, college tuition payments and truck tolls.)
A separate report due out next week, which takes into account the spending side of the ledger, will show whether the state is currently on track to run a deficit or a surplus this fiscal year.
Ted Nesi (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook