Secretary of Administration Neale F Lunderville announced today that Vermont’s July revenue figures for the General Fund and Transportation Fund fell below targets, while the Education Fund exceeded its target.General FundSecretary of Administration Neale F Lunderville released the July 2010 General Fund Revenues today. July is the first month of fiscal year (FY) 2011. General Fund revenues totaled $82.22 million for July 2010, and were -$3.61 million or -4.21% below the $85.83 million consensus revenue forecast for the month. July is the first month of the fiscal year; therefore the monthly and year to date results are the same.The monthly targets reflect the revised Fiscal Year 2011 Consensus Revenue Forecast approved by the Emergency Board at their July 15, 2010 meeting. Statutorily, the State is required to revise the Consensus Revenue Forecast two times per year, in January and July. The Emergency Board may schedule interim revisions if deemed necessary.Personal Income Tax (PI) receipts are the largest single state revenue source, and are reported Net-of-Personal Income Tax refunds. Personal Income Tax receipts for July were recorded at $43.27 million, or -$1.99 million or -4.40% below the monthly target of $45.26 million.Corporate Income Taxes for July, which are also reported net-of-refunds, were recorded at -$0.81 million against a target of $1.62 million, or -$2.42 million (-149.86%) below the monthly target of $1.62 million, due to higher than expected corporate refund activity.The consumption taxes were above target for July; Sales & Use Tax receipts of $19.88 million were above target by +$0.19 million (+0.94%), while Rooms & Meals Tax receipts of $10.07 million were above target by +$0.11 million (+1.05%).The remaining tax components include Insurance, Inheritance & Estate Tax, Real Property Transfer Tax, and ‘Other’ (which includes: Bank Franchise Tax, Telephone Tax, Liquor Tax, Beverage Tax, Fees, and Other Taxes). The results for July were as follows: Insurance Tax, $0.28 million (-18.04%); Estate Tax, $0.90 million (-33.05%); Property Transfer Tax, $0.74 million (-11.11%); and ‘Other’, $7.87 million (+16.43%).Transportation FundSecretary Lunderville also reported on the non-dedicated Transportation Fund Revenue for July. Total non-dedicated Transportation Fund receipts of $15.57 million for July fell short of target by -$0.13 million (-0.80%), against the July target of $15.70 million.Individual revenue receipts components for July were: Gasoline Tax, $5.15 million or -1.12% short of target; Diesel Tax, $0.70 million or -10.91% below target; Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax, $3.21 million or -3.19% below target; Motor Vehicle Fees, $5.52 million or +8.65% above target; and Other Fees, $1.00 million or -23.99% below the monthly target.Secretary Lunderville also reported on the July results for the Transportation Infrastructure Bond Fund (’TIB’). TIB Fund Gas receipts for July were $1.33 million or -5.00% short of target. TIB Fund Diesel receipts were $0.08 million or -10.97% short of target for July. TIB Fund receipts are noted below the following table:Education FundThe ‘non-Property Tax’ Education Fund revenues (which constitute 11.75% of the total Education Fund sources) were released today by Secretary Lunderville. The non-Property Tax Education Fund receipts for July totaled $12.55 million, or +$0.04 million (+0.32%) above the $12.51 million target for July.The individual Education Fund revenue component results for July were: Sales & Use Tax, $9.94 million, or +0.94% ahead of target; Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax, $1.60 million or -3.19%; Lottery Transfer, $1.00 million – exactly on target; and the Education Fund Interest receipts were essentially $0, as was the target.Conclusion‘July’s target is always difficult to parse out from the annual Consensus Revenue Forecast. Over the last two decades, the July results have deviated from the July targets more often than not. One month’s results are insufficient to project a revenue trend ‘ up or down,’ said Secretary Lunderville. ‘However, we remain vigilant in the face of a weak recovery which seems to have lost momentum.’
In preparation for the total eclipse, I read “American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World,” by David Baron. I highly recommend this read if you are a history and/or science nerd. It details the total solar eclipse of 1878 that swept the wild west and even what Denver was like around that time. It had just enough science in it that I knew what I was looking up at when the moon started making its way across the sun.“For three glorious minutes, I felt transported to another planet, indeed to a higher plane of reality, as my consciousness departed the earth and I gaped at an alien sky … I felt something I had never experienced before — a visceral connection to the universe …” -David BaronWe spent the weekend getting to know Greyrocks Reservoir in Wyoming in preparation for the big show on Monday morning. We set up camp Friday morning along the shore of the reservoir and began the waiting game. Greyrocks Reservoir sits just north of Wheatland, Wyoming, solidly inside the line of totality. It touted unbearable heat during the day, and gloriously breezy, perfectly temperature evenings. We slept with the van doors open and let the nighttime air relax us to sleep. Mornings were spent staring into the endless blue sky wondering how everything would change.Saturday and Sunday were filled with friends and family slowly filtering in, setting up tents and ez ups, sharing food, drinks, and excitement for Monday morning. We cooled off in the reservoir and let the dogs run around in the mud. We put our chairs in a circle and talked about how it felt not as crowded as we expected and like we had our own little plot of beachfront property. It was like any old ordinary camping trip, but with a major celestial event happening at the end. If you like the gear we’re reppin’, or what we’re wearing, check out some of the sponsors that make this tour possible: La Sportiva, Crazy Creek, National Geographic, RovR Products, Sea to Summit, Mountain House, LifeStraw, and Lowe Alpine. I’m sure every other article about the eclipse tells you you shouldn’t miss it. This one is no different. It exceeded our expectations. This world is a huge, incredible place, and magic still exists, even if it’s scientific magic. Standing under the dark sun with a handful of friends and family is life marker. I will never forget the feeling I had as the moon finally moved fully over the sun, and the world went dark in the middle of the day. Witnessing the moon slowly blot out the sun, and stars appear in the sky during daylight hours, is a once in a lifetime experience. The crickets chirped and the horizon line glowed pink and orange. The corona around the black hole where the sun used to be shimmered with an otherworldly gleam. Everyone I was with screamed with joy and nervousness. For three minutes of totality during the eclipse, the world was a completely unfamiliar place, even though we had made that campsite home for the past three days.