2/2 © Reuters. Illustration photo of a US five dollar bill 2/2
By David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The US government posted a budget deficit of $ 144 billion in December, a record for the month, due to much higher outlays on coronavirus relief spending and unemployment benefits, while revenues increased slightly, the Treasury Department said on Wednesday. The Treasury said the December deficit compares to a deficit of $ 13 billion in December 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic began in the United States. Revenues for the month increased 3% from the prior year to $ 346 billion, while disbursements increased 40% to $ 490 billion. Retained personal income tax receipts for December were flat, while the Treasury posted increases in un-withheld income taxes and corporate tax payments at the end of the year. The cumulative US deficit during the first three months of fiscal year 2021, which began on October 1, reached $ 573 billion, up from $ 357 billion in the pre-pandemic period the previous year. Revenues for the first three months of the fiscal year were virtually unchanged at $ 803 billion, while disbursements increased 18% to $ 1.376 billion.