Record corporate tax payments have enabled the federal government to record a budget surplus for December — the first for that month in three years — despite a record level of spending, according to published accounts.
December’s surplus of $10.98 billion contrasts dramatically with the $2.85 billion deficit a year earlier, according to the Associated Press. Year on year, total government receipts jumped 12.1 percent, to $241.88 billion, while outlays rose just 5.6 percent, to $230.9 billion.
Corporate income-tax collections came in at a record $73.5 billion in December, beating the previous mark of $72 billion set in September, noted the AP. The wire service observed that the $230.9 million in spending last month was also an all-time high.
The budget surplus, reported by the Department of the Treasury, did not totally surprise economists, who were predicting a $5 billion surplus for the month, according to Reuters.
For the fiscal year that began October 1, the cumulative deficit was still $119.31 billion, the wire service reported, up slightly from $118.05 billion in the first three months of fiscal 2005.
The budget deficit is expected to exceed $400 billion for the full fiscal year, thanks to increased government spending to help rebuild hurricane-ravaged states along the Gulf Coast. Reuters also pointed out that President Bush has vowed to cut the deficit in half by 2009 even as he preserves tax cuts.