Finance secretary: Virginia revenue collections increase

February’s revenue collections in Virginia increased 17 percent over the same month last year.

In February, Virginia’s general fund revenues totaled $703,000, compared to $602,000 in February 2010. In addition, Virginia’s general fund revenues year-to-date are $9.2 million, compared to $8.9 million in 2010, which is on track to be an increase of 4 percent in 2011, according to Secretary of Finance Richard Brown.

This increase is ahead of the previous, projected annual increase of 3.5 percent that was written in the proposed budget in December, Brown wrote in a letter addressed to Gov. Bob McDonnell last week. In the same letter last year, Brown wrote that general fund revenues were expected to fall 2 percent in fiscal year 2010. In fiscal year 2009, it was projected to fall 7 percent. Fiscal year 2008 was the last time general revenue funds were expected to increase, by 1.2 percent.

February is the eleventh month in the last 12 months during which revenue collections have exceeded the amount compared to the same month the previous year. February is also the fourth consecutive month in which year-over-year growth was greater than 9 percent, according to Brown. The revenue increase was spurred by withholding and sales tax collections.

Earlier this month, the governor’s office also announced that Virginia’s unemployment rate had reached a two-year low. Virginia’s unemployment rate was 6.5 in January, which is the most current rate available through the Virginia Employment Commission. Loudoun’s unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in November, the most current number available from the county.

Still, McDonnell pointed out that although the “macro numbers” are positive, “we cannot lose sight of the fact that this recovery is still fragile and early.”

He said that too many Virginians remain unemployed and too many opportunities remain unavailable to Virginians.

In the future, “the administration will continue to adhere to a path of fiscal responsibility in the state budget and will aggressively support private-sector job creators with our public policies.”

Contact the writer at hhager@timespapers.com.

This article was first published by Hannah Hager on LoudounTimes.com.

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