March was a good month for Virginia tax collectors

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Great news! Virginia general-fund tax revenues for March 2020 were up 10.8 percent from March 2019, and as of March 31, fiscal year-to-date collections were up 6.6 percent from a year ago.

Oh, right.

Those numbers from the pre-COVID-19 world are just taunting us in the here and now.

“While March collections reflected our strong economy, April revenues will begin to reveal the effects of COVID-19 on payroll withholding and retail sales tax collections,” said Gov. Ralph Northam, in a press release from the governor’s office, which, to its credit, it could’ve just decided to sit on, and didn’t.

“The most important thing to focus on right now is the health and safety of all Virginians, and we expect the April results will be disappointing,” said Northam, doing his best impression of the TV ad character Captain Obvious.

Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne offered this stunner as a preview to how the final quarter of the 2020 fiscal year, which ends June 30, could be for Virginia:

“With the COVID-19 outbreak affecting employment and businesses, payroll withholding and retail sales tax will be closely monitored as we expect them to decline by approximately $1 billion in the final quarter of our fiscal year,” Layne said.

The full report is available here.

Story by Chris Graham


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