State revenues are up $65 million over estimates for the first half of the budget year.
Mike Allen, Maine Revenue Services’ associate commissioner for tax policy, says the revenues show Maine’s economy is starting to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. He says much of that is attributable to the CARES Act passed by Congress last spring that pumped billions in to Maine’s economy, largely in the form of expanded and enhanced unemployment benefits.
“We estimate that was $55 million of withholding that, you know, had a significant benefit to state revenues,” he says.
Allen says nearly all sources of state revenues came in above estimates. He says the economic fallout from the pandemic is mixed, with low-income households being hurt the most.
“The impact of the recession has been fairly focused on low-income households in service sector jobs. For the rest of the working population, it’d you know been sort of status quo, things going as usual,” he says.
Allen says the latest relief package passed by Congress will help, but he cautions that if the pandemic worsens, or lingers, there could be revenue shortfalls in the months ahead.