State revenues continued to drop in August as New Jersey’s treasury department warned the end of federal aid is expected to impact the economy in the coming months.
August revenue collections for the major taxes totaled nearly $2.0 billion, down $117.4 million, or 5.7%, below August 2019. For the first two months of traditional Fiscal Year 2021, total collections of $2.1 billion are down $374.7 million, or 14.9%, below the same two months last year.
August collections for the Gross Income Tax (GIT), which is dedicated to the Property Tax Relief Fund, totaled $808.4 million, down $45.5 million, or 5.3% below last August. Year-to-date collections are down $326.6 million, or 30.8%.
More Trouble Ahead
Not all the news was negative. New Jersey’s largest General Fund revenue source, sales and use tax, reported $890.8 million, an increase of $24.7 million, or 2.9%. Due to the one-month lag in sales tax collections, August revenue reflects consumer activity in July. This is the first month since February to report positive sales tax revenue growth.
But even that good news was tempered by the Treasury Department as it noted in a press statement that various federal stimulus programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program loans, individual Economic Impact Payments and expanded unemployment insurance benefits that pumped approximately $34 billion into the state’s economy through the end of July. With all of that support now ended, treasury officials expect the stimulus effects are to fade as well.
Lastly, the Corporation Business Tax (CBT), which is the second largest general fund revenue source, reported a loss of $28.0 million in August, down 172.4% from the same month in 2019, due to the fact that refund payouts exceeded taxpayer payments. Year-to-date through August, CBT collections of $142.5 million are down $67.7 million, or 32.2% below the same period last year.
While overall collections are down sharply compared to last year, the first two months of the fiscal year are relatively small, according to department officials. September is a crucial month as significant quarterly estimated payments are due under the GIT and the CBT.
Treasury forecasts FY 2021 collections to remain relatively weak through the winter months, followed by a return to collections growth next spring and summer as the COVID-19 induced recession eases, barring a second wave of the pandemic. Please see the attached chart for monthly and yearly comparisons.
As of Sept. 20, the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 199,762 with 457 new cases and three new deaths, bringing that total to 14,276. The state probable death count increased to 1,791, bringing the overall total to 16,067.
State officials noted six deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 1,896, followed by Bergen at 1,801, Hudson with 1,353, Passaic at 1,108, Morris at 686, Sussex at 161 and Warren with 158.
In regards to probable deaths, Bergen has 243, Essex has 229, Hudson has 160, Morris at 145, Passaic at 143, Sussex has 37 and Warren has 13.
The daily rate of infections from those tested as of Sept. 14 was 2.2%, down from 3.0 the day before%. By region, the north has a rate of 1.7%, central at 2.7% and the south at 2.7%. The state is no longer using serology tests as health officials explained those results show a past presence of the disease as well as a current one.
As for the rate of transmission, it climbed to 1.12 from 1.08 two days earlier, a rate that has been up due to the high number of positive tests, according to Gov. Phil Murphy. Officials have continually cited transmission rate and positivity rate as health data they rely on to track how the coronavirus is being contained in New Jersey, guiding them in determining when restrictions have to be tightened or lifted.
Officials reported 380 patients are hospitalized. Of those hospitalized, 91 are in intensive care units and 39 on ventilators, while 36 patients were discharged.
Bergen Tops County Count
Bergen has the most cumulative cases in the state with 22,168, followed by Essex at 20,833, Hudson at 20,482, Middlesex at 19,089, Passaic at 18,822, Union at 17,440, Ocean at 12,241, Monmouth at 11,500, Camden at 9,707, Mercer at 8,567, Morris at 7,742, Burlington at 6,930, Somerset at 5,691, Gloucester at 4,313, Atlantic at 3,965, Cumberland at 3,735, Sussex at 1,452, Warren at 1,428, Hunterdon at 1,286, Salem at 1,044 and Cape May at 997.
Another 330 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.
The racial breakdown of the record deaths was 54% White, 20% Hispanic, 18% Black, 6% Asian and 2% another race. Murphy has noted the rates in the black and Hispanic communities are running about 50% more than their population in the state.
In regards to the underlying disease of those who have passed, 56% had cardiovascular disease, 45% diabetes, 31% other chronic diseases, 18% neurological conditions, 17% lung diseases, 15% chronic renal disease, 10% cancer and 14% other. New Jersey Department of Health Judith Persichilli has stated most cases have multiple underlying conditions which would push the percentage of 100%.
A census of ages for confirmed deaths shows 48% of deaths are of those 80 year old and up, 31% in the range of 65-80, 16% between 50-65 and 5% under the age of 49.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 158 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 7,264 of the cases, broken down between 4,538 residents and 2,726 staff.
Cumulatively, 705 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 25,034 residents and 13,525 staff, for a total of 38,559 cases.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 7,143 on Sept. 20. The facilities are reporting to the state 6,759 residents deaths and 121 staff de