Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that October revenue collections decreased by 5.4 percent from October of last year. October is not a significant month for revenue collections. On a year-to-date basis, total revenue collections rose 0.6 percent through October, trailing the annual forecast of 1.5 percent growth. Adjusting for the accelerated sales tax program and the 0.125 percent sales tax transfer required by last session's historic transportation bill, total revenues grew 1.6 percent through October, trailing the adjusted forecast of 2.7 percent growth.
The decrease in October revenue was driven by declines in corporate, sales and recordation taxes, along with an increase in individual refunds. Collections of payroll withholding taxes only grew by 0.5% in October, with the weakness in growth most likely attributable to the federal government shutdown. Sales and use tax receipts fell by 1.7%, but that number reflects sales in September, prior to the federal government shutdown. Any potential impact of the shutdown on sales in Virginia would be reflected in the upcoming November revenue report.
Speaking about the October numbers, Governor Bob McDonnell noted, "Over the last four years we've worked together in Richmond to find common ground and put in place policies that will spur private sector job creation and economic growth. Those policies have gotten results. 158,000 new private sector jobs have been created in Virginia, and our unemployment rate has fallen from 7.4% to 5.8%, the lowest rate in the Southeast. However, despite our work in the Commonwealth, we increasingly face headwinds that while not of our making, are having a detrimental impact on our people and our economy. The federal government continues to fail at the most basic of functions, including most recently failing at just the simple act of remaining open. This is having a direct impact on the finances of Virginia's residents and our state government. We must continue to take prudent and proactive steps in our state government to help prepare the Commonwealth for the continued uncertainty that lies ahead. I look forward to working with the incoming administration of Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe to ensure that there is continuity in the successful bipartisan efforts that have helped make Virginia a national economic leader, even in these difficult times."