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Tax revenues down, tax revenues up?

Two Pennsylvania tax stories: John Micek reports that state revenues aren't rolling in as expected.

The state took in $1.7 billion in general fund revenue in November, which was $63.3 million, or 3.5 percent less than expected, the state Revenue Department said this afternoon. Year-to-date collections are $9.4 billion, which is $345.3 million, or 3.6 percent behind projections.

Sales taxes, personal income taxes, corporate taxes, inheritance taxes and realty transfer taxes are all behind where the state projected they would be. If this trend continues, of course, it could mean tax hikes (not bloody likely) or cuts down the road.

But wait! Maybe the state could find some revenues somewhere else? Mary Wilson reports:

State Revenue Department officials say they will start enforcing sales-tax collection among remote sellers that have any kind of physical presence in the commonwealth.

Right now, online and catalog sellers don't have to pay sales taxes on sales they make in Pennsylvania. This not only shorts the state -- the state estimates it loses out on about $380 million a year on online sales taxes-- it puts local businesses that do pay the tax at a competitive disadvantage.

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