The budget registered a $3 billion surplus, the first time there had been a surplus in January since 2008, Treasury Department data showed on Tuesday. Economists had been looking for a $2 billion gap. The surplus compared with a $27 billion deficit in January 2012.
It appeared the Treasury got a boost from the expiration of a payroll tax reduction on January 1 following the last-minute “fiscal cliff” deal. In its estimate last week, the Congressional Budget Office said the Treasury got an extra $9 billion in taxes from the expiry.
The January surplus means the government’s cumulative deficit for the fiscal year, which starts in October, is $290 billion, 17 percent lower than the comparable first four months of fiscal 2012.
Taxes go up, revenues go up, deficit goes down.