WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government ran another budget deficit in February, and the gap would have been bigger if tax refunds had been processed faster.
The Treasury Department reported Friday that the deficit came in at $192 billion last month, little-changed from a $192.6 billion deficit in February 2016. This year's budget hole would have been deeper. But the Internal Revenue Service is required by a new law to delay tax refunds to those who file for the earned income tax credit while it looks for fraud. The credit reduces taxes or provides refunds to low-income Americans.
For the first five months of the fiscal year, the deficit — the gap between the government's revenues and spending — came in at $349 billon, down from $351.3 billion a year earlier.
The Congressional Budget Office forecasts that the annual deficit will slip to $559 billion this year from $587 billion in fiscal year 2016. The CBO forecast does not take into account President Donald Trump's budget plans.
Trump has called for a program of tax cuts for businesses and individuals and increased government spending in such areas as repairing the nation's aging infrastructure