Sales, income taxes fall


ANNAPOLIS -- State retail sales and income taxes in January were down from the year before, reflecting the dismal December shopping season and likely necessitating a new round of budget cuts, state officials said yesterday.

Sales and use taxes in January totaled $163.8 million, 3.9 percent less than the $170.4 million collected in January 1989, Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein announced.

State and local income taxes, meanwhile, fell almost 1 percent from the year before, to $387.8 million from $391.4 million.

"Consumer spending continues to be weak, and January is the (( fourth straight month in which sales and use tax revenue has been less than the same month of the prior year," Mr. Goldstein said.

The lower-than-expected revenues have state budget officials worried that their problems for fiscal year 1991, which ends in June, are not over.

"We're discouraged by the numbers we see, and that's likely to )) necessitate a third round of [budget] reductions for the current year," said Dennis H. Parkinson, deputy secretary of the Department of Budget and Fiscal Planning.

The sales tax revenues provide the first official confirmation that Maryland retailers suffered a weak Christmas season.

Last week the state announced unemployment figures for December that showed Maryland had exceeded the national jobless rate for the first time in nearly a decade.

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