Trump tax cuts spur unexpectedly high state revenues

By Evie Fordham

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act touted by President Donald Trump is one of three reasons that at least 19 states are reporting unexpectedly high general fund revenue halfway through fiscal year 2019, tax policy expert Adam Michel told The Daily Caller News Foundation Thursday.

“[Trump] can also take credit for the larger economy to the extent that that’s now fueling additional spending,” Michel, a Heritage Foundation policy analyst, told TheDCNF via telephone. “It’s not only the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that’s growing the economy but his deregulatory agenda is fueling economic growth. All of those things wouldn’t have happened if he didn’t push for them.”

Increased spending in the larger economy gave state sales tax revenue a boost.

“I think we will see most states end up with more revenue at the end of the year,” Michel told TheDCNF. Heritage is a conservative think tank located in Washington, D.C.

The current fiscal year will hit its halfway point on Dec. 30. The National Association of State Budget Officers (Nasbo) released a report Thursday that said 19 states have received general fund revenue that exceeded expectations for fiscal year 2019. Those states include Georgia, Pennsylvania, Washington and Connecticut, reported The Wall Street Journal. The latter state expects to take a $600 million chunk out of its budget gap by summer 2021 thanks to the increased revenue, reported WSJ.

Fourteen states say their revenue is meeting expectations for fiscal year 2019, while five report falling short, according to the report cited by WSJ.

The revenue increases are directly tied to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) touted by Trump, Michel told TheDCNF.

“Because the federal tax code expanded what is taxable income — the main change being they eliminated the exclusions for individuals and children and they compensated in other areas — income that is taxable at the state level for many states went up,” he said. “So we should expect to see in a majority of states income tax revenue rise because of the changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”

The last nationwide change that affected the increased revenue was the Supreme Court’s South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., ruling in June, Michel told TheDCNF. The ruling broadened the ability of states to collect sales tax from online retailers.

“The [Trump] administration also argued in front of the Supreme Court on the side of the states that were asking for the power to tax more of the online sales tax,” Michel told TheDCNF. “The federal government and the states won, so his administration also played a part in expanding that authority.”

Fiscal year 2019 predictions from the Nasbo report include 2.1 percent projected growth for general fund revenues and 7.3 percent projected growth for state rainy day fund balances. That’s compared to a “recent low” of 1.6 percent rainy day fund balance growth in fiscal year 2010, according to the report.

Nasbo reported that 26 states expect to grow their rainy day fund balances in fiscal year 2019, according to WSJ. That’s compared to 31 states that did increase their balances in fiscal 2018, according to WSJ.

States are still adjusting to the TCJA, called the largest overhaul to the tax code seen since 1986, so tax experts cannot be sure “how much of the revenue gains states have experienced of late will be recurring versus one-time,” according to the Nasbo report.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was touted as Trump’s first major legislative victory.

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5 thoughts on “Trump tax cuts spur unexpectedly high state revenues


    Ask H&R block to run your taxes for 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018*, using the SAME state income and you will see how your Vermont income taxes are INCREASING due behind-closed-doors TWEAKING of the VERMONT tax code, usually to fleece the higher-income households some more.

    That TWEAKING is TOTALLY independent from FEDERAL tweaking and from Trump tax cuts.

    H&R will be glad to oblige, as it takes only a few keystrokes.

    After I saw the results, I was totally p….d.

    The Dem/Progs do it every time.

    They just cannot resist it.

  2. Why is it “unexpected” that tax revenues increase when we cut taxes? It has increased revenues every time it is done in the past. Do people really know this little about basic economics?

  3. More money allowed to remain in the private sector stimulates cash flow, increases the percentage that’s taxable. And money changing hands is what feeds the state coffers. Despite the Constitutional restrictions of taxation to revenue purposes only, the government utilizes taxation to manipulate sectors of the economy. Notable that they raise taxes to discourage economic activity, e.g. to slow the expansion of what’s called an “overheated” economy. Revenue increase from lowered taxes was underanticipated. Revenue increase from raising taxes is characteristically overanticipated.

    • Along with tax income, Vermont is also picking up all those Sales tax monies that were not collected before on the internet shopping sites.. they must be raking in the cash like crazy.But sure enough the powers in Montpelier have not seen a tax increase they did not like.. so they keep putting it to the Taxpayers, No amount of revenue is good enough for them and their stupid new ideas to spend our money!!

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