Our Opinion: Despite declines, Missouri's economy performing well

Statistics can be used to prove virtually anything.

It would be easy to look at Missouri's general revenue collections as dismal, depending on how you look at the data.

For instance, corporate income and franchise tax collections dropped a whopping 64.5 percent so far in the current fiscal year. Individual income tax collections have decreased 32.3 percent, declining from $1.71 billion last year to $1.16 billion this year.

But the numbers are skewed due to changes to tax filing deadlines amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as we recently reported. By moving the April and June tax filing deadlines to July last year, the state collected revenue in a new fiscal year - which has bolstered the 2021 fiscal year figures.

"The Missouri economy is still performing well and revenues are, even though they're down for the year, they're actually pretty strong when you look at them in the right context," State Budget Director Dan Haug said.

Some numbers are actually up. Sales and use tax collections increased 29.4 percent for the month and 23.9 percent so far this year, from $412.3 million collected by this time last year to $510.7 million so far this year.

Haug said those collections are not affected by the change in tax deadlines, but he doesn't project they will appear high for much longer as spending in the state returned to typical levels around the fall of last year.

Overall, Missouri's general revenue collections decreased 3 percent this August compared with last August.

But Haug said August's figures are about what the Office of Administration was expecting and the state is on track to collect the revenue needed to fund the fiscal year 2022 budget.

Fortunately, the Missouri Legislature has budgeted conservatively so we're on track to fully fund the budget

We still need to get people back to work to get our economy back to pre-COVID levels. But we're thankful we're doing as well as we are. It could be much worse.

News Tribune