Tax Receipts Exceed Treasury Predictions

The Treasury Department reports that, in a pleasant surprise, higher-than-expected tax receipts have created a budget surpluss for the third quarter of the fiscal year.

Tax Receipts Exceed Treasury Predictions (WaPo, E1)

After three years of rising federal budget deficits, a surge of April tax receipts brought unexpected good news to fiscal policymakers — the tide of government red ink appears to be receding. The Treasury Department this week reported there would be a $54 billion swing from projected deficit to surplus in the April-to-June quarter, after an unanticipated gush of tax payments poured into the Treasury before the April 15 deadline. That prompted private forecasters to lower their deficit projections for the fiscal year that ends in September.

Budget analysts inside and outside the government said the positive turn is likely to be short-lived. Indeed, after a four-year absence, the Treasury Department announced yesterday it is considering reissuing its 30-year Treasury bond to help finance long-term government debt, jolting the bond markets and pushing down the price of existing 30-year securities. But in the short term, many forecasters said the budget deficit appears to have crested. “I think it has turned the corner,” said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor’s, the credit rating agency. “My guess is 2004 will have been the worst year.”

For that fiscal year, the government recorded a $412 billion deficit, the largest ever in nominal dollar terms, although not as large as some of the deficits of the 1980s when measured against the size of the economy. The 2004 mark was up from 2003’s $378 billion deficit, which topped 2002’s $158 billion deficit.

I credit the Bush tax cuts.

(Just kidding of course. But if dips in the business cycle can be blamed on administration policy, they may as well get credit for blips in the other direction.)

Update: Lorie Byrd had the same reaction.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. herb says:

    Excess tax dolars should be TOP SECRET. When the politicians in Congress see this, that will go on another spending spree.