(UNDATED) - With three weeks left in Indiana's fiscal year, the state is on track to post two-percent more in tax collections than last year.
Indiana collected 72-million dollars less last month than projected, but that's a leveling off from an April windfall caused by more people than expected filing their tax returns early. That left fewer than expected returns to be processed in May.
Ball State economist Michael Hicks says the growth reflects a healthy state economy, with adequate funding to handle increasing needs. But he warns the state needs to be ready for an accelerating decline in gambling revenue. That money comprises just four-percent of the state's revenue, but is nearly one-percent below expectations for the year.
Legislators revised casinos' tax structure in an effort to strengthen them against increasing competition from Ohio and Illinois, but Hicks predicts neither that change nor any other steps the state might take can prevent losses as the market is divided among more competitors.
The state's monthly sales tax collections surpassed projections for the first time in five months, but Hicks says those figures are inherently volatile. He notes the average monthly shortfall was less than 11-million dollars in a pool of about 600-million.
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