After smaller January surplus, deficit 77 percent higher than 2018

There was good news on the budget front for a change in January as Uncle Sam ran a surplus of $8.7 billion - but because that was far below the surplus of the same month a year ago - the federal deficit is now running 77 percent higher than at the same point in 2018, clocking in at $310.3 billion for the first four months of the fiscal year.

Once again, the latest monthly deficit report featured a combination of less revenue coming into the federal treasury and higher spending; revenues fell $21 billion in January of 2019 when compared to January 2018, while spending was up by $20 billion.

That turned a $49 billion surplus in the same month a year ago into a surplus this time of $8.7 billion.

The drop in revenues, caused in part by the GOP tax cut which went into law at the end of 2017, continued to add to the deficit problems, and again undercut the arguments of Republicans and top White House officials, who repeatedly said the tax cuts would pay for themselves by bringing in more revenues to the federal treasury.

Revenues have dropped in three of the first four months of the fiscal year; spending has been up in three months as well.

While no budget expert would expect the deficit to continue on a pace where it is 77 percent higher than a year ago for the entire fiscal year, outside budget groups and the White House agree that it will likely end up higher than the $779 billion for 2018.

In figures released by the Treasury Department, individual income taxes fell again in January, totaling $197.1 billion, compared to $211.9 billion in January of 2018.

In the first four months of the fiscal year, individual income taxes are down by $33 billion.

Corporate income tax collections dropped by nearly half, going from $13.5 billion in January of last year to $6.8 billion in January of 2019.

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