posted on 06 February 2015
January 2015 CBO Monthly Budget Review: Total Receipts Up by 8 Percent in the First Four Months of Fiscal Year
from the Congressional Budget Office
The federal government ran a budget deficit of $195 billion for the first four months of fiscal year 2015, CBO estimates—$12 billion more than the shortfall recorded in the same span last year. Revenues and outlays were both 8 percent higher than they were at this time a year ago. If lawmakers enact no further legislation affecting spending or revenues, the federal government will end fiscal year 2015 with a deficit of $468 billion, or 2.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), CBO estimates, down from a deficit of $483 billion, or 2.8 percent of GDP, in 2014. (For more details about CBO's most recent budget projections, see The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2015 to 2025.)
Total Receipts: Up by 8 Percent in the First Four Months of Fiscal Year 2015
Receipts through January totaled $1,041 billion, CBO estimates—$79 billion more than the amount collected in the same period last year. The largest increases in receipts were in the following categories:
Total Outlays: Up by 8 Percent in the First Four Months of Fiscal Year 2015
Outlays for the first four months of fiscal year 2015 were $1,236 billion, $91 billion more than they were during the same period last year, CBO estimates. That increase would have been slightly smaller if not for a shift in the timing of certain payments from February to January (because February 1 fell on a weekend in both 2014 and 2015). Without those timing shifts, CBO estimates, spending would have risen by $88 billion. (The discussion below reflects adjustments to account for the timing shifts.)
Outlays increased for several major categories of spending:
Those increases during the first four months of fiscal year 2015 were partially offset by reductions in spending for some other major programs, including the following:
Estimated Deficit in January 2015: $19 Billion
The federal government incurred a deficit of $19 billion in January 2015, CBO estimates, compared with a $10 billion deficit in January 2014. Because February 1 fell on a weekend in 2014 and 2015, certain payments that ordinarily would have been made in February of those years were instead made in January. Furthermore, certain payments that are due January 1, New Year's Day, are always made in December of the previous year. Without those shifts in the timing of payments, the federal government would have realized a $1 billion surplus in January 2015 and an $8 billion surplus in January 2014.
CBO estimates that receipts in January totaled $302 billion—about $6 billion (or 2 percent) more than those in January of last year. Individual income taxes and payroll taxes together increased by $4 billion (or 1 percent). Withheld and nonwithheld taxes from those sources grew by $4 billion (or 2 percent) and $8 billion (or 10 percent), respectively. But the net increase in receipts was small because refunds of individual income taxes also rose by $5 billion, CBO estimates, and receipts from unemployment insurance taxes were down by $3 billion.
Total spending in January 2015 was $320 billion, CBO estimates—$14 billion more than outlays in the same month in 2014. If not for the effects of timing shifts, outlays in January would have been $12 billion higher than they were in the same month last year. (The year-over-year changes for January discussed below reflect adjustments to account for those shifts.) Among the larger changes in outlays, compared with those of last year, were the following:
Actual Surplus in December 2014: $2 Billion
The Treasury Department reported a surplus of $2 billion for December—about $1 billion less than CBO estimated, on the basis of the Daily Treasury Statements, in the Monthly Budget Review for December 2014.
This document was prepared by Nathaniel Frentz, Dawn Sauter Regan, Joshua Shakin, and Adam Wilson.
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