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story.lead_photo.caption Graphs showing information about The United States' budget and debt

The U.S. Treasury Department reported Monday that the federal government recorded a budget surplus of $49.24 billion in January, 3.9 percent smaller than in the same month a year ago. Overall, for the first four months of this budget year, the federal deficit was 10.8 percent larger than the same period last year.

The budget deficit for the first four months of the fiscal 2018 budget year, which began Oct. 1, totaled $175.72 billion, compared with $158.6 billion over the same period a year ago, the Treasury Department reported Monday.

The government spent $312 billion in January, including $40 billion on defense outlays, $82 billion for Social Security and $49 billion on Medicare, according to the report. Outlays for the first four months of the fiscal year ending in January totaled $1.3 trillion, up 5 percent over a year ago, and included $206 billion for defense, $321 billion for Social Security and $176 billion for Medicare.

The Treasury Department report said that year-to-date receipts, at $1.13 trillion, were up 4.2 percent compared with the same period a year ago. The total, including $603 billion from individual income taxes, $76 billion from corporate income taxes and $372 billion from Social Security and other payroll taxes.

Monday's treasury report came as the White House unveiled a $4.4 trillion budget for fiscal 2019 that shows growing deficits despite proposed cuts to domestic programs -- largely because of last year's tax overhaul which is projected to cause federal tax revenue to drop. Tax revenue would plummet by $3.7 trillion over the 2018-27 decade relative to last year's "baseline" estimates, the budget projects.

President Donald Trump's new budget plan sees a fiscal 2019 deficit of $984 billion, which could rise to $1.2 trillion after the impact of a bipartisan budget deal reached last week that includes $90 billion worth of disaster aid is tacked on. That's more than double the 2019 deficit the administration promised a year ago.

All told, the new budget sees accumulating deficits of $7.2 trillion over the coming decade; Trump's plan last year projected a 10-year shortfall of $3.2 trillion.

Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, said that Trump's proposal "is a messaging document. The executive budget has always been a messaging document."

One message, he said, is that "you don't have to spend all of this money, Congress, but if you do here is how we would prefer you spend it." The other, he said: "We do not have to have trillion-dollar deficits forever."

In a letter accompanying the budget, Mulvaney urged Congress to restrain domestic spending despite the agreement, citing the deficit.

The tax law that Trump signed in December by itself is projected to add more than $1 trillion to the deficit over the next decade. Domestic spending under the new caps Congress agreed to last week would add $680 billion in deficits over 10 years on top of red ink already in the budget, Mulvaney wrote. He proposed spending $57 billion less than the new cap.

Congress is all but certain to ignore that advice. Lawmakers are already working on a spending bill to meet the new caps and plan to present it to Trump by March 23, the next deadline to fund the government for fiscal 2018.

Information for this report was contributed by Glen Chase of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Justin Sink of Bloomberg News

A Section on 02/13/2018

Print Headline: January surplus down from '17

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