(Reuters) - Sales tax collections came in on target in fewer than half of states in May, a large drop from April, according to a survey released on Wednesday.
The Liscio Report said 48 percent of states it surveyed met or exceeded their forecasted sales tax collections, down from 89 percent in April.
Meanwhile, two-thirds of states reported an increase in sales tax collections from a year ago, also less than the 75 percent that registered increases in April.
Warm winter weather could have benefited sales tax receipts earlier in the year, the economic newsletter said.
States get one-third of their revenue from sales tax, which is the second-largest tax source after personal income taxes. Alaska, Delaware, New Hampshire and Oregon do not charge sales tax.
In fiscal 2013, which for most states begins on July 1, sales tax collections are expected to increase 4.2 percent to $217.08 billion, the National Governors Association and National Association of State Budget Officers found in a report released on Tuesday. They cited increased consumer spending and some states raising their tax rates.
At the same time, sales tax collections in fiscal 2012 are expected to come in some $2 billion higher than states originally forecast while drafting their budgets.
As state revenue collapsed in reaction to the housing downturn, financial crisis and recession, temporary tax increases were instituted by many. According to the Tax Foundation, 13 states and the District of Columbia raised sales taxes during the revenue collapse from 2007 through 2011.
According to the Rockefeller Institute of Government, an independent research group, sales tax collections grew 5 percent in the first quarter of 2012 from a year ago -- compared with the 6.6 percent increase in sales taxes in the first quarter of 2011, which was the largest jump in more than five years.
California officials are looking to sales taxes to help close the state's $15.7 billion budget gap for the next fiscal year, and asking voters to approve a ballot measure to raise the state's sales tax. The gap represents about 30 percent of the total gap all states face in the coming fiscal year, according to Standard & Poor's, which on Monday called California's sales tax system "dysfunctional."
(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)