posted on 10 March 2015
February 2015 CBO Monthly Budget Review: Deficit Is $10 billion More than the Shortfall Recorded in the Same Span Last Year
from the Congressional Budget Office
The federal government ran a budget deficit of $386 billion for the first five months of fiscal year 2015, CBO estimates—$10 billion more than the shortfall recorded in the same span last year. CBO expects that, if lawmakers enact no further legislation affecting spending or revenues, the deficit in 2015 will end up at about $486 billion, roughly the same as the deficit incurred in 2014. (For more details about CBO's most recent budget projections, see Updated Budget Projections, 2015 to 2025.)
Total Receipts: Up by 7 Percent in the First Five Months of Fiscal Year 2015
Receipts through February totaled $1,187 billion, CBO estimates—$80 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 6 Percent in the First Five Months of Fiscal Year 2015
Outlays for the first five months of fiscal year 2015 were $1,573 billion, $90 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 March to February in both 2014 and 2015 (because March 1 fell on a weekend in both years). Without those timing shifts, CBO estimates, spending would have risen by $87 billion, or 6 percent. (The discussion below reflects adjustments to account for the timing shifts.)
Outlays increased for several major categories of spending:
Increases during the first five months of fiscal year 2015 were partially offset by reductions in spending for some other major programs, including the following:
For many other programs and activities, spending increased or decreased by smaller amounts.
Estimated Deficit in February 2015: $192 Billion
The federal government incurred a deficit of $192 billion in February 2015, CBO estimates—$2 billion less than the deficit incurred in February 2014. Because March 1 fell on a weekend in 2014 and 2015, certain payments that ordinarily would have been made in March of both years were instead made in February. Similarly, because February 1 also fell on a weekend in both years, certain payments shifted to January. Without those shifts in the timing of payments, CBO estimates, the deficit would have been only $1 billion smaller than it was a year ago.
CBO estimates that receipts in February totaled $141 billion—$3 billion less than last year. Corporate income taxes declined by $10 billion, quite possibly reflecting the retroactive extension of tax provisions mentioned above. In addition, remittances to the Treasury from the Federal Reserve declined by $4 billion. Partially offsetting those changes, receipts from individual income taxes and payroll taxes together rose by $11 billion (or 9 percent), CBO estimates, mainly because of increases in withheld taxes.
Total spending in February 2015 was $333 billion, CBO estimates—$5 billion less than outlays in the same month in 2014. (The year-over-year changes for February discussed below reflect adjustments to account for the shifting of certain payment from February to January and from March to February.)
Among the larger changes in outlays, compared with those of last year, were the following:
Actual Deficit in January 2015: $18 Billion
The Treasury Department reported a deficit of $18 billion for January—about $1 billion less than CBO estimated, on the basis of the Daily Treasury Statements, in the Monthly Budget Review for January 2015.
This document was prepared by Nathaniel Frentz and Adam Wilson.
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