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Illinois general funds revenue up 9.1 pct in Q1

CHICAGO, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Illinois' revenue for its general funds was up $700 million or 9.1 percent in the first quarter of fiscal 2014 versus the same period a year ago, but $469 million of the increase was one-time revenue, according to a report on Thursday from a state legislative commission.

The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability said general funds collections totaled $8.43 billion in the July-September period with personal income taxes rising by $205 million and corporate income taxes up $75 million. Sales taxes grew by $139 million.

"In the case of sales taxes, we've seen several months of pretty good sales tax numbers, but we don't know if that will continue for the rest of the fiscal year," said Jim Muschinske, the commission's revenue manager.

A transfer of excess income tax refund money was the biggest one-time boost for Illinois' coffers in the first quarter. The $397 million transfer into the general funds was nearly $100 million over the budgeted amount, according to Muschinske. He said the state also received $72 million from legal settlements.

Illinois has been struggling to pay its bills as a huge $100 billion unfunded pension liability and ballooning annual pension payments are squeezing out funding for core state services such as education and public safety.

A special legislative committee created in June has yet to come up with a pension fix ahead of the fall session, which begins later this month. Meanwhile, Illinois' credit ratings have fallen to the lowest level among states.