By Stephanie Kelly
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Nebraska’s general fund net tax revenue for fiscal 2016/17 was $ 34 million below projections, the state said on Friday, a fact its tax commissioner attributed in part to lower corn prices.
Net revenue for the fiscal year ending June 30 was $ 4.266 billion, 0.8 percent below a forecast of $ 4.3 billion, according to the Nebraska Department of Revenue.
Net revenue for June 2017 totaled $ 400 million, down from its projected total by 5.9 percent, the department said. June was the third month in a row that net income fell below expectations.
Nebraska Tax Commissioner Tony Fulton said in an interview that the forecast was lost in part due to lower corn prices, lower personal income tax revenues and projections that were too “optimistic.”
“It has been difficult,” Fulton said of the agricultural conditions. “That has a lot to do with raw material prices not where they have been in recent years.”
The agriculture industry has fallen since 2013, including a substantial drop in net farm income, said Brad Lubben, a specialist in agricultural extension policy at the University of Nebraska. Prices of crops and livestock have fallen since 2012 and 2013, respectively, he said.
Lubben said lower prices were certainly a major factor in lower tax revenues.
Nebraska’s agricultural sector accounts for about one in four jobs in the state, he added.
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts said in a statement Friday that he will “continue to closely monitor tax revenues to protect taxpayers.”
Nebraska’s 10-year general obligation debt traded 17 basis points above the Thomson Reuters Municipal Market Data benchmark triple-A yield scale on Thursday.
Chicago Board of Trade corn futures were up 4-1 / 4 cents to $ 3.74 a bushel as of 12:34 pm CDT (1734 GMT) on Friday.
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