U.S. Budget Gap Widens as Revenue Growth Outpaced by Spending
Workers pour concrete during construction of a hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S. (Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)

U.S. Budget Gap Widens as Revenue Growth Outpaced by Spending

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. budget deficit widened in the first four months of the fiscal year as growth in spending exceeded revenue.

The U.S. fiscal gap increased by 11 percent to $175.7 billion between October and January from the same period a year earlier, the Treasury Department said in a report on Monday. Outlays rose by 5 percent to $1.3 trillion, while receipts increased by 4 percent to $1.1 trillion.

The budget deficit widened the last fiscal year to the largest since 2013. The gap is expected to keep increasing as an aging population boosts spending on healthcare and retirement programs and from tax cuts enacted this year that are expected to cut revenue by up to $1.5 trillion over the next decade. On Sunday, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said the budget deficit will increase this year, but could narrow over time with economic growth.

The Trump administration’s proposed budget released Monday shows the 2019 deficit widening to nearly $984 billion and totaling $7.1 trillion over the next decade. That assumes Congress adopts all of Trump’s proposals, including spending cuts, and the economy doesn’t suffer a downturn.

The U.S. posted a surplus of $49.2 billion in January, about $2 billion less than the surplus a year earlier, according to the Treasury statement.

Surpluses in January are boosted by shifts in certain payments normally made on the first day of the month, but are moved because of the New Year’s holiday, the Congressional Budget Office said in a report on Feb. 7. While the Internal Revenue Service released guidelines for 2018 withholding taxes to reflect the new tax cuts on Jan. 11, employers are only required to begin using them on Feb. 15, according to the CBO.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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