Some Puzzling State Revenue Numbers

The Indiana State Budget Agency recently released the revenue collections report for October. The overall collections for the fiscal year now stand 2.8% ($136 million) below projections; not good, but not critical at this juncture.

The troubling numbers for the revenue watchers are the corporate tax collections. They were down again this month and are now at 52% below the April revenue forecast projections. Nobody really knows how to fully explain the drop. While the corporate collections historically fluctuate widely from month to month and are the hardest to predict for many reasons (that are not directly related to predictable economic activity), the gap between projections and collection is extraordinary. Fortunately, corporate collections have never represented a big piece of the pie (only around 6%) when compared to sales (48%) and individual income (36%) tax collections. Still, the unforeseen drop accounts for $126 million of the $136-million-dollar shortfall.

The State Budget Agency has drilled down on the matter and is attributing it to a high volume of refunds. But what is triggering the refunds is not clear either. Sometimes refunds can cover a number of years. They could be tied to a recent settlement of numerous cases or result from changes in the law – lots of possible factors. Whatever they are attributable to, they probably don’t mean that corporate collections will stay down; they are likely to rebound over the balance of the fiscal year and smooth out the impact, but they are not likely to recover to the total of the original projections. Let’s hope this is just a temporary mysterious dip that is evened out over time.

For those interested, you can review all the numbers and commentary from the State Budget Agency.

Get Your Scarves and Your UGG Boots; It’s Fall

AFall is upon us.

This means one thing for food and beverage companies all over the nation: it’s pumpkin spice time. The one ingenious, but verging on overused, marketing ploy has taken the country by storm.

It all started back in 2003 when Starbucks created the pumpkin spice latte, which has since taken on a life of its own. Today, you get just about everything pumpkin-flavored, from beer and soda to chips and hummus (this is real, I promise; I couldn’t make that up). Check out People magazine’s list of all the pumpkiny options this year.

Now, I personally have never been a huge fan of the original pumpkin flavored thing – pie. And I am not a coffee drinker so I do not participate in the #PSL madness that ensues from September to November each year, but in the spirit of fall (and out of curiosity) I have vowed to try as many pumpkin-flavored items as I can this season. It has become a joke between my roommates and I when we go to the grocery store.
So, here is the official Paige Ferise review of pumpkin flavored items:

  1. Pumpkin Spice Oreos: I was quite skeptical, but these are actually surprisingly delicious. I would recommend them.
  2. Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts: As a broke student, I pride myself in being somewhat of a Pop Tart connoisseur. The pumpkin Pop Tarts did not quite live up to my expectations. They were okay, but not something I intend on stockpiling before they stop making them.
  3. Pillsbury Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls:  Good, but can’t beat the original.
  4. Pumpkin Spice M&Ms: They literally tasted just like the original M&Ms.
  5. Talenti Pumpkin Gelato: Magnificent. Talenti can do no wrong.

This is all the pumpkin I have experienced so far, but fall is still young, my friends!

Paige Ferise, a sophomore at Butler University, is interning in the Indiana Chamber communications department this fall.