Apr 12, 2:50 PM EDT

US budget deficit bulges in March due to calendar hitch



Latest Budget News
Companies decry Trump plan to eliminate Energy Star program

Multimedia
Obama's 2011 budget
Interactive National Debt
See the Debt Today, and Through History
Multimedia
The U.S. Trade Deficit

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The federal government ran a budget deficit in March that was sharply higher than a year ago, largely because of a hitch in the calendar. Through the first half of this budget year, the deficit is running almost 15 percent higher than the same period a year ago.

The Treasury Department reported Wednesday that the deficit in March totaled $176.2 billion, compared to $108 billion in March of last year. A big part of that increase reflected $42 billion in April benefit payments that were shifted into March because April 1 fell on a Saturday this year.

Through the first six months of this budget year, the deficit totals $526.9 billion, up 14.7 percent from last year's six-month total of $459.4 billion.

The Congressional Budget Office is projecting that this year's deficit will decline 4.6 percent to $559 billion when the budget year ends on Sept. 30. That would compare to a 2016 deficit of $585.6 billion.

Through the first six months of this budget year, government receipts total $1.47 trillion, a slight 0.2 percent above last year, while outlays total $2 trillion, 3.3 percent higher than spending for the same period a year ago.

The CBO's estimate for the deficit this year is based on current law remaining unchanged. President Donald Trump has called for a program of tax cuts for individuals and businesses and increased government spending in such areas as defense and repairing the nation's aging infrastructure.

© 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.