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chiang.jpgState tax revenue kept pace with budget estimates last month, with strong sales and corporate tax receipts offsetting a shortfall in personal income taxes, according to a report today by the State Controller's Office.

Total revenue of $5.3 billion in February was more than 20 percent higher than the same month last year, according to the report.

"Healthy revenues, along with recovering home prices, a steep drop in foreclosures, and increased car sales are harbingers of a California economy that is starting to warm up," Controller John Chiang said in a prepared statement.

Though sales, income and corporate tax revenues were all up over last year, income tax revenue was nowhere near as robust as expected. The controller's office attributed the category's weak showing - nearly 19 percent less than anticipated - to a large number of tax refunds being issued in February.

Overall, total general fund revenue over the past eight months is beating expectations by nearly $4.3 billion. Due to recent tax changes and the volatility of California's tax system, however, it is unclear how lasting that overage may be.

Budget experts have urged caution in interpreting the figures until after April income tax revenue comes in.

PHOTO CREDIT: State Controller John Chiang, 2011. Hector Amezcua / The Sacramento Bee


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