In another sign of the slowing economy, corporate tax payments to the federal government have slowed dramatically, according to the latest estimate Thursday by the Congressional Budget Office.
In its monthly budget review the CBO said corporate taxes have grown 39 percent in fiscal year 2012, but most of that reflects activity through December. Looking only at April and May, which the nonpartisan budget agency said “more closely reflect profits during this calendar year,” payments were up only 4 percent over last year.
Overall CBO analysts said the federal deficit stands at $845 billion for the first eight months of the fiscal year, which began Oct. 1. That’s better than 2011, when the deficit was already at $927 billion at the same point.
The government actually ran a surplus in April — the first since the last months of the George W. Bush administration — but dipped back into the red in May, notching a $125 billion deficit, or more than twice last May’s deficit of $58 billion.
Year-to-date spending is about the same as 2011, with defense, unemployment and Medicaid payments dropping while Social Security and Medicare payments have grown.
The CBO does a preliminary estimate each month of the government’s fiscal picture. The Treasury Department will release official data later this month.