Tax windfall continued in early Jan.

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BOSTON — The waves of above-benchmark state tax collections are still crashing into the new year.

After sluggish revenue growth the last two fiscal years, receipts over the first six months of fiscal 2018 were running $728 million over benchmark at the end of December, spurring Gov. Charlie Baker to lift his controversial hold on spending earmarks sprinkled into the budget by the Legislature.

In a mid-January letter to lawmakers, Revenue Commissioner Christopher Harding disclosed that total tax collections for the month-to-date period were

$1.507 billion, up $392 million or 35.1 percent compared with the same period last year. Within the income tax category, estimated payments of $767 million, which accounted for the bulk of $1.35 billion collected in that category, were up $412 million versus the same period last year.

The Department of Revenue collected more than

$3 billion in taxes in December, exceeding projections by $527 million, or 21.2 percent, and beating last year's mark by $517 million. At the six-month milestone, fiscal 2018 receipts stood at $12.9 billion, 6 percent above the benchmark and 8.1 percent, or

$966 million, higher than the first half of fiscal 2017.

State officials are scheduled to disclose collection amounts for the full month of January next week. According to the DOR, January has contributed an average of 10 percent of total annual revenues, ranking number three among the twelve months for share of collections.

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