WASHINGTON (AP) — On track for a record deficit, the government has produced $400.5 billion in red ink in the first 11 months of the 2003 budget year – twice the total for the same period a year earlier.

The figures, released Wednesday by the Treasury Department, highlighted the worsening condition of the government’s books, with just one month left in the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.

The deficit so far this fiscal year, from October through August, compares with a shortfall of $200.2 billion a year earlier.

The Bush administration believes the deficit for the entire 2003 budget year will total $455 billion, while the Congressional Budget Office is projecting a slightly smaller total of $401 billion. The current record in dollar terms is the $290.4 billion of 1992.

For the 2002 budget year, the government ran up a deficit of $157.8 billion, ending four consecutive years of surpluses.

The administration has blamed the return of deficits on a sluggish economy and the costs of fighting the war in Iraq and terrorism at home and abroad. Democrats say major causes have included Bush’s tax cuts and economic policies.

For the 11 months of the 2003 budget year, revenues were down by 4.2 percent to $1.59 trillion compared with the same period a year earlier. Most of that decline reflected lower tax payments coming into the treasury, CBO says.

Individual income tax payments totaled $704.2 billion, a decline of 8.1 percent from the previous year. Corporate tax payments fell to $101.4 billion, a 13.5 percent drop.

Federal spending for the 11 months came to $1.99 trillion, a 7 percent increase from the corresponding period in fiscal 2002.

The biggest spending categories so far this budget year are Social Security, $468.1 billion; programs of the Health and Human Services Department, including Medicare and Medicaid, $465.7 billion; military, $355.6 billion; and interest on the public debt, $305 billion.

In August, the government produced a monthly deficit of $76.5 billion, based on revenues of $114.3 billion and outlays of $190.7 billion.

The deficit for August was larger than the $54.7 billion shortfall recorded for the same month last year.



On the Net:

Treasury Department: http://www.ustreas.gov/

AP-ES-09-17-03 1445EDT



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