Va. posts 17.2 percent revenue growth in February

Year-to-date growth at 5 percent

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RICHMOND — Virginia posted a 17.2 percent year-over-year growth in revenue collections in February, Gov. Bob McDonnell said Wednesday — a day after the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a three-year low in the state’s  unemployment rate.

Year-to-date, revenue collections have increased 5 percent, ahead of a revised annual forecast of 4.6 percent. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stands at 5.8 percent.

Mr. McDonnell said bipartisan work in the General Assembly to foster a pro-business, jobs-oriented agenda is paying dividends, but he also took a swipe at Democrats in announcing the figures.

“Our growth remains subject to many unstable factors, not the least of which is the uncertainty following Senate Democrats’ decision to reject both proposed budgets during the 2012 regular session,” he said. “Adding to that, the fragile national economy, persistent uncertainty in federal funding, and world and national events continue to leave us exposed to volatility that threatens our economic prosperity and growth.”

Mr. McDonnell said it was “unacceptable” that 250,000 Virginians remain out of work and pledged to continue helping the private sector to create jobs statewide.

February is typically not a significant month for revenue collections and an extra deposit day from Leap Year aided the numbers, but the figure was the best since last May, when the state posted 17.9 percent revenue growth.

Strong post-holiday sales also contributed to the figures, and the calendar effect would “wash out” in March when there will be one fewer deposit day, Finance Secretary Richard D. “Ric” Brown wrote in a memo to Mr. McDonnell.

Payroll individual income tax withholding grew 16 percent, income tax non-withholding collections grew 28.8 percent, sales and use tax collections increased 5.7 percent, and corporate income tax collections jumped 28.8 percent.

Wills, suits, deeds, and contracts, which comprise 2 percent of general fund revenues, were also up, while the collection of the tax on insurance premiums, which also comprises 2 percent of the general fund, were negative because refunds were issued last month.

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