Ohio's tax revenue slumps in December

State income-tax revenue in December came in below estimates, making it the fifth-straight month revenue fell short. In addition, non-auto sales-tax revenue barely surpassed its projection, the first time it has done so in the first six months of this fiscal year, which began July 1.

Total state tax receipts in December missed the projection by $37 million, or about 2%, leaving revenue nearly $300 million below the estimate for the fiscal year.

The state is missing revenue targets that were already revised downward by $280 million at the beginning of the fiscal year. Revenue is down $152 million from the same six-month period a year earlier.

State Budget Director Tim Keen has said he expects both income-tax and sales-tax revenue in this fiscal year to come in below estimates. A built-in surplus and continued Medicaid under-spending are expected to allow the state to cover the revenue shortfall this year.

Keen and Gov. Kasich have repeatedly warned that revenue shortfalls are going to mean the new two-year budget, which Kasich will introduce at the end of January, will be especially tight. Kasich has warned that the state might be on the verge of a recession.

Legislative leaders have said the budget could be the most difficult one since 2011 which started with a multibillion-dollar hole because of the use of one-time money to balance the previous two-year budget.