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Feb 10, 3:36 PM EST

US government records $51.3 billion surplus in January



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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The federal government ran a budget surplus in January that was smaller than last year's surplus.

The Treasury Department reported Friday that the surplus this year was $51.3 billion, down 7.1 percent from a January surplus a year ago of $55.2 billion. The government has run a surplus in January in 24 of the past 63 years. Government revenue is boosted in that month by quarterly estimated tax payments.

Through the first four months of this budget year that began Oct. 1, the deficit totals $156.9 billion. That's 2.2 percent lower than the $160.4 billion deficit during the same period last year.

The Congressional Budget Office is projecting that the deficit this year will be slightly lower than last year's imbalance, a forecast that does not cover President Donald Trump's proposed stimulus program.

According to the estimate the CBO released last month, the 2017 deficit under current law will total $559 billion, down 4.8 percent from last year's deficit of $587 billion.

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.

In a meeting with airline executives Thursday, he said that development of his economic program was "way ahead of schedule" and should be released over the next two to three weeks. Trump said the program "will be phenomenal in terms of tax and developing our aviation infrastructure."

The Treasury report showed that through the first four months of this budget year, revenues total $1.08 trillion, up 0.5 percent from the same period a year ago. Government spending totals $1.24 trillion, an increase of 0.2 percent from the same period a year ago.

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This story has been corrected to show that CBO is forecasting lower deficit for 2017, not higher.

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