Miss. tax collections strong in July and August

Mississippi tax collections were higher than expected for the first two months of the state budget year, but a top lawmaker said Friday that it’s too early to know whether the good numbers indicate steady improvement in the state economy.

“I hope we can sustain it,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Herb Frierson, R-Poplarville, said of the growth. “It takes you four, five or six months to see a trend.”

According to the state Department of Revenue, tax collections for July and August, combined, were 4.3 percent higher than lawmakers estimated. That translates into an extra $26.9 million.

If collections remain strong, lawmakers are likely to use the extra money next spring to fill holes in the budget for fiscal 2014, which ends June 30. Frierson said, for example, that he expects the Department of Corrections to request $20 million to $22 million to get through the year.