Four months into the fiscal year, and tax revenue in the state’s general fund is down 5.7 percent compared to the same time last year. That even though the state saw increases in general excise and hotel room tax collections.

As of Oct. 31, the general fund was at $1.29 billion, down from $1.37 billion over the same period last year.

The general fund update comes from an unaudited preliminary tally of tax revenues released Monday by the Hawaii Department of Taxation.

It’s bad news for incoming governor-elect Neil Abercrombie and for lawmakers who are getting ready to convene in January. The state already had ended the 2010 fiscal year in the red, spending $22.3 million more than it had budgeted.

Driving the decrease in tax collections are double-digit drops in individual and business income taxes. Individual income tax collections are down 36.1 percent — to $298.45 million from $467.08 million. And corporate income taxes are off 28.7 percent — to $10.8 million from $15.16 million in fiscal 2010.

The one-page report is not yet available on the department’s website, but here’s a scanned copy:

The report doesn’t go into much detail, but blames the lowered income tax collections on the state’s decision late last year to delay payment of state income tax refunds. As a result, the state paid out “accrued income tax refunds” in July 2010, the report says. “If the total accrued refunds are factored out, general fund deposits have actually increased by 7.9 percent.”

There are a few bright spots in the report. General excise and use tax collections are up 5.8 percent compared to last year. The state has collected $801.6 million in GET and use taxes since July, compared to $757.9 million for the same time period last year.

And collections for the transient accommodations tax — the hotel room tax — are up 30.1 percent. That increase is likely thanks to the state hiking the TAT by 1 percentage point to 9.25 percent at the start of the fiscal year in July. The year before, the state also raised it by 1 percentage point, which generated an additional $25.7 million in fiscal 2010.

While it’s still early in the fiscal year, the latest numbers don’t match up with what the state’s Council on Revenues had forecast for the year.

In September, the council revised its general fund revenue forecast lower for fiscal 2011, from a 6.2-percent increase to one of just 2-percent growth. (To put those estimates in context, 1 percentage point translates into about $46 million.) But then it also revised higher its forecast for fiscal 2012 — from 5.8 percent to 10 percent — followed by five years of annual 6 percent growth.

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