AP News

New York tax receipts below projections

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York tax receipts through August were $147 million below projections and $204.3 million below collections for the same period last year, reflecting volatile economic conditions, according to state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

The cash report from the comptroller's office showed tax collections of $24.7 billion for the first five months of the state's fiscal year, including a 1.2 percent decline in personal income taxes from a year earlier. State labor department data Thursday showed New York's unemployment rate remained 9.1 percent in August.

"Weak revenue collections and slow economic growth signal a need for caution going forward," DiNapoli said Wednesday. Primarily because of lower spending, the state government budget remains on relatively solid ground, he said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration and lawmakers agreed on a $132.5 billion spending plan for the 2012-13 fiscal year that began April 1 that would increase total spending by 1.9 percent.

State Budget Director Robert Megna said in a letter to agency commissioners this week that they should plan for zero growth from their cash ceilings in budget requests for the next two years. "The governor is committed to keeping spending growth to two percent or less over the course of his administration," he wrote, in an effort to correct structural deficits.

New York's unemployment rate rose slightly to 8.6 percent outside New York City in August, while slipping to 9.9 percent in the city, according to the labor department. Both numbers and the overall state rate were nearly 1 percent higher than a year earlier. The national jobless rate was 8.1 percent in August, down more than 1 percent from a year earlier.

The department reported that the statewide private sector job count increased by 102,000 so far this year, including 3,300 in August. The total has risen to more than 7.3 million, up by about 350,000, since November 2009, when New York began its economic recovery from the recession. The agency said New York is one of five states to regain all the jobs lost in the recession.

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