Ohio’s tax revenue hit hard by coronavirus crisis, new numbers show


By Jeremy Pelzer - Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland (TNS)



COLUMBUS, Ohio — The initial impact of the coronavirus crisis on the state of Ohio’s finances became clear Monday, as preliminary general-revenue tax receipts for March were more than $159 million – or 10.5 percent — below expectations.

“The impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic became apparent in Ohio’s March General Revenue Fund receipts,” said Kim Murnieks, director of the state’s Office of Budget and Management, in a statement.

Sales and use tax revenues for last month were 8.3 percent, or $68 million, less than predicted, according to an OBM release. In particular, tax revenue from automobile sales was $1.4 million less than expected.

State income-tax revenue for March also missed estimates by $22.3 million, or 5.1 percent, according to the release.

As state and federal lawmakers have moved the April 15 income-tax filing deadline to July 15, state budget officials expect that April income tax revenues will miss estimates “by a significant margin,” the release stated.

Even with the dismal March numbers, sales-tax revenue for the state’s fiscal year (which began last July) is still, overall, 1 percent higher than expected – a reflection of how strong the state’s economy was before the coronavirus hit. Income-tax revenue for the year is, overall, still $362 million (2.2 percent) above what the state collected during the same period last fiscal year.

The numbers reflect the massive decrease in commerce seen after Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton on March 22 issued an ongoing “stay-at-home” order and closed “non-essential” businesses to curb the spread of coronavirus, which as of Monday afternoon has infected 4,450 Ohioans, killing 142.

The day after Acton’s order, Gov. Mike DeWine, anticipating a big drop in state revenue, ordered administration officials to cut their budgets by as much as 20 percent and imposed a near-total state government hiring freeze.

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By Jeremy Pelzer

Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland (TNS)

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