Charter schools increase the average quality of traditional public school teachers by providing high-quality, unlicensed teachers an easier pathway into the field, a new paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research concludes. 

“Because the fixed costs to participating in the charter sector are low, teachers are able to explore their taste for teaching before committing to fixed costs (licenses). This in turn generates positive selection on the quality of teachers entering public school careers,” conclude economists Jesse Bruhn of Brown University, Marcus Winters of Boston University and Scott A. Imberman of Michigan State University. 

Looking at Massachusetts public charter schools, the economists discovered that charter schools exhibited a U-shaped teacher attrition pattern, with high-performing teachers and low-performing teachers both tending to leave at high rates. But the destinations of the high-quality and low-quality teachers were polar opposites. 

Unlike in traditional public schools, low-performing charter school teachers tended to leave teaching for other fields. By contrast, high-performing charter school teachers tended to pursue licensure and transfer to a traditional public school. 

The authors conclude that the low barrier to entry for becoming a charter school teacher attracts people who are interested in teaching but who are not ready to commit to getting a four-year teaching degree and a state license. 

By offering a quick on-ramp into the teaching profession, instead of a wall that takes years to climb over, charter schools are able to attract talented teachers who otherwise would never enter the field. Once they decide to stick with teaching, they then pursue licensure and move to traditional public schools, which typically offer higher pay and more generous benefits. 

In short, charter schools perform a valuable public education service by weeding out poor-performing teachers and channeling high-performing ones into traditional public schools. 

Bruhn, Winters and Imberman write that “charter schools tend to hire unlicensed teachers who are ineligible to teach in the public sector and then there emerges a mobility pattern such that the least effective charter school teachers are more likely to exit teaching while effective teachers are more likely to obtain a license and move into the traditional public school sector. This pattern of results suggests that charter schools create a positive externality for local public schools by increasing the average quality of the labor available to them.”

Charter schools are public schools that are operated under a contract, or “charter,” with the state or a local school district. They are not subject to district-negotiated teacher union contracts or many state regulations that dictate how public schools are to operate. That gives them the flexibility to pursue alternative management practices. 

The authors note that rigid employment restrictions at traditional public schools likely make traditional public schools less, not more, effective.

“Employment restrictions embedded in collective bargaining agreements, administrative policies, and legislation may inhibit public school effectiveness by limiting their ability to retain effective teachers and remove ineffective teachers (Goldhaber & Hansen, 2010; Staiger & Rockoff, 2010; Cowen & Winters, 2013),” they write.

By contrast, charter schools that aren’t subject to rigid employment restrictions have found ways to recruit very high-performing teachers into the profession while pushing low-performing teachers out. 

The two candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for governor are engaged in a heated dispute over natural gas. Though both support transitioning to 100% “clean energy,” state Sen. Dan Feltes would use natural gas in the transition; Executive Councilor Volinsky would not.

Feltes would rely on natural gas as a bridge fuel between dirtier-burning fossil fuels (coal and oil) and energy sources that emit no greenhouse gasses.

Volinsky opposes the use of natural gas in any circumstances. He portrays any use of natural gas as a win for fossil fuel companies and a loss for the environment. 

The historical record shows the opposite to be true. 

Last year, the International Energy Agency released a report on the environmental benefits of replacing coal with natural gas, showing that the switch has produced enormous environmental benefits. 

“Since 2010, coal-to-gas switching has saved around 500 million tonnes of CO2 – an effect equivalent to putting an extra 200 million EVs running on zero-carbon electricity on the road over the same period.” (EV = electric vehicle.)

Continued replacement of coal with natural gas would produce further emission reductions, the IEA report concluded. 

“Given the time it takes to build up new renewables and to implement energy efficiency improvements, this also represents a potential quick win for emissions reductions. There is potential in today’s power sector to reduce up to 1.2 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions by switching from coal to existing gas-fired plants, if relative prices and regulation support this potential. The vast majority of this potential lies in the United States and in Europe. Doing so would bring down global power sector emissions by 10% and total energy-related CO2 emissions by 4%.”

The IEA report found that “on average, coal-to-gas switching reduces emissions by 50% when producing electricity and by 33% when providing heat.”

In New Hampshire, coal is still used to produce electricity during periods of peak demand in summer and winter. The state has two of the only three remaining coal-fired plants in New England. Relying on natural gas instead of coal for those peak-use plant firings would bring a quick 50% drop in emissions during those periods. 

This emissions reduction would not require waiting for green energy production to scale up. It can be had just by increasing the use of natural gas, which emits almost 100 pounds less carbon dioxide per BTU than the cleanest-burning coal. 

Aside from electricity generation, more natural gas would help New Hampshire reduce its reliance on heating oil, which emits 44 pounds more carbon dioxide per BTU than natural gas. Two-fifths of New Hampshire homes are heated with oil, the second-highest portion in the nation (Maine is first.) 

More natural gas distribution lines would provide more homes with the ability to switch from oil to gas, which is both cheaper and cleaner. Consumers would save money and reduce emissions. But these distribution lines are routinely opposed by environmental activists.

Natural gas was made cheap and plentiful by the fracking revolution, which was a private-sector innovation no government regulator had thought to prevent. Yet the cleaner fuel often can’t get to consumers because of regulations and political activism, forcing New Hampshire to rely on dirtier coal and gas. 

Sen. Feltes is right that using more gas now would reduce both emissions and consumer costs. This is not theoretical. Government data show that it’s already happened.

From 1990-2017, New Hampshire’s energy-generated carbon emissions fell by 8.4% and the carbon intensity of the state’s energy supply fell by 29%, U.S. Energy Information Administration data show. 

The market-based transition to natural gas explains the bulk of that reduction, with a slower growth in renewable generation explaining a smaller portion. 

As regional power grid operator ISO New England states in its most recent report on New England’s energy mix:

“When the wholesale markets opened to competition, private companies invested billions of dollars in the development of natural-gas-fired power plants because they used advanced technology that made them run efficiently; were relatively inexpensive to build, site, and interconnect; and their lower carbon emissions compared to coal and oil helped the region meet state environmental policies. As nearby shale gas emerged as an inexpensive and plentiful fuel resource in the 2008 timeframe, natural gas generators became the go-to resource for New England, clearing as the largest resource type in the market year after year. Nearly half of the region’s electric generating capacity uses natural gas as its primary fuel (about 15,000 MW), and natural-gas-fired power plants produce about 40% of the grid electricity consumed in a year.”

The chart below, from ISO New England’s report, shows how natural gas grew into the region’s dominant energy source, pushing out dirtier-burning coal and oil. 

Aspiring to end the use of fossil fuels is fine. A realistic approach will get us there faster than one based on green fantasies. 

Innovation is making alternative energy sources cheaper and is improving battery technology. Some day, we might have the ability to generate large amounts of wind and solar power and store it for use in cloudy and windless periods. But tomorrow won’t be that day. 

In the meantime, natural gas is reliable, storable, affordable, and cleaner than other fossil fuels. There is a lot to dislike about Feltes’ energy plan, but to his credit he recognizes the practical environmental gains that can be made by relying on natural gas for now. 

In the centuries since its capital was dubbed the Cradle of Liberty, Massachusetts has decayed into a nest of Puritanism brimming with monarchical arrogance and colonial pretensions. Its corrupted culture breeds scolds, meddlers and progressive tyrants with a boundless evangelical zeal to reform — and tax — the great, unwoke masses. And every time they look north to New Hampshire, they see land ripe for colonization.

In 1976, Massachusetts sent tax agents onto New Hampshire’s sovereign (and sacred) territory — our liquor store parking lots — to intimidate its own residents into paying taxes on the “use” of N.H.-bought liquor. 

In 2009, Massachusetts tried to force Town Fair Tire stores located in New Hampshire to collect and remit Massachusetts sales tax on tires bought by residents of the Bay State.

In 2018, the U.S. Supreme ruled in Wayfair v. South Dakota that states could collect sales taxes on purchases made remotely in other states, a practice Massachusetts had been striving to pioneer. 

Now, in 2020, Massachusetts has determined that it can and will collect income taxes on New Hampshire residents who work from home for Massachusetts-based employers, provided they are working from home to comply with the Bay State’s own coronavirus emergency order. 

In each of the cases before 2020, New Hampshire officials fought back. 

Gov. Mel Thomson sent state troopers to the liquor stores to harass Massachusetts tax collectors. 

Gov. John Lynch declared that Massachusetts wouldn’t turn our businesses into its tax agents, and legislators passed a law to that effect. 

Gov. Chris Sununu said in 2018: “If they think we are just going to take this without a fight, well then they have another thing coming” and called a special legislative session to protect New Hampshire businesses. Legislators failed to act, only later passing a watered down law, sadly. 

But now, the reaction is not nearly so bold. Gov. Sununu announced an investigation, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Feltes issued a joint statement with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Lou D’Allesandro that reads like a petition to the king from two submissive courtiers. 

Feltes and D’Allesandro write that “we respectfully encourage you to withdraw the tax rule change penalizing New Hampshire residents who now work remotely due to COVID-19.”

Respectfully encourage? Massachusetts is reaching over our border to tax our residents’ income. For a state with no income tax, that cannot stand. Things that cannot stand must be stopped, not asked politely to please consider no longer standing.

As tax attorney Bill Ardinger told New Hampshire Journal this week, Massachusetts is on shaky legal ground here. Even if Massachusetts revenue officials had a stronger legal case, New Hampshire should challenge it immediately on the elementary grounds that New Hampshire residents working in New Hampshire owe not one red cent to the Colonial Empire of Massachusetts.

And any Massachusetts pooh bah who says otherwise can take a swim in the Charles. 

Massachusetts’ long history of aggression against New Hampshire’s sovereign territory leaves no doubt about the proper action. New Hampshire needs to punch it in the face and tell it to scram. (Metaphorically, of course.) 

No one will defend New Hampshire but New Hampshire. And there’s only one way to do it: swiftly and forcefully. 

After 45 days of study, the governor’s Commission on Law Enforcement Accountability, Community and Transparency on Friday recommended that New Hampshire spend a lot more time studying police practices and accountability. 

The anti-climactic report did contain some immediate action items, including:

  • Increase the N.H. Police Standards Training Council staff 
  • Abolish the part-time police academy; 
  • Create memoranda of understanding between school districts and law enforcement agencies that would guide the behavior of school resource officers;
  • Standardize the state’s required annual police training;
  • Double the minimum hours of annual training and including issues such as bias and diversity and use of force training;
  • Increase scenario-based training;
  • Provide the Ethical Policing is Courageous (EPIC) and Active Bystandership Law Enforcement (ABLE) training developed by the New Orleans Police Department;
  • Adopt uniform training for SWAT teams that includes mental health and de-escalation training;
  • Adopt nationally accepted standards for school resource officer training.

However, the report stopped short of recommending broader reforms such as repealing laws that grant police immunity from civil lawsuits, barring union contracts from including procedural protections not afforded average citizens accused of crimes, making police discipline files public, and mandating the use of body cameras. 

It’s surprising and disappointing that such relatively obvious and uncomplicated fixes, some of which we recommended in our police reform proposal this month, were left out.

The commission recommended further study of six issues, including the collection of non-biased data during police interactions, the use of qualified immunity, the use of choke holds, and the provision of mental health service responders instead of law enforcement for 911 calls.

To pursue the ongoing study of these important issues, it’s critical that the state lean heavily on community members who do not have law enforcement backgrounds. There’s a real risk that study committees peopled largely with law enforcement professionals would lack the outside perspective necessary to conduct impartial and unbiased reviews. Law enforcement input is essential, but it should not dominate the process. 

The published record of the commission’s work reveals that members affiliated with law enforcement offered informed and insightful proposals for improving training and standards. Without their input, these positive reforms might have been overlooked. Yet many of the more aggressive proposals for achieving large gains in accountability were made by members not affiliated with law enforcement. Unfortunately, a lot of those proposals were not included in the commission’s final report. That leaves a large opening for lawmakers in next year’s session and for local governments starting this summer.  

If you want to become a police officer in New Hampshire, you have to undergo 684 hours of training at the N.H. Police Academy. That’s less than it takes to become a licensed barber, and less than half as long as to become a cosmetologist. 

Most people probably don’t think of police as being subject to occupational licensing, but that’s what the training and certification process amount to. And the level of training required to become a police officer is much less than is required for people entering many other occupations, none of which carry a gun and have the authority to use lethal force.

State law requires barbers to have 800 hours of training at barber school or 1,600 under the supervision of a licensed barber. We could be wrong, but we’re pretty sure no one’s ever been gunned down on the street by a hair dryer.

To become a cosmetologist requires “1,500 hours of training in a school of cosmetology” or 3,000 hours over two years under a licensed cosmetologist. 

That is, it takes 220% more hours of training to become a licensed cosmetologist in New Hampshire than it does to become a police officer. 

It takes a bachelor’s degree and 900 internship hours to become a licensed dietician.

It takes a four-year degree and three years of supervised professional experience to become a landscape architect. 

It takes 600 hours to become an esthetician, just 88 percent of a police officer’s required hours.

Either the required training period for police officers is low, or that of many other licensed occupations is far too high. Or both. 

One prospective to keep in mind when thinking about these requirements is that the state has an interest in maintaining a relative low barrier to entry for police officers. It’s hard enough to recruit officers in some communities. Raise the bar too high and artificial shortages will result.

Established and licensed occupations, on the other hand, have a strong incentive to erect high barriers to entry to reduce competition and artificially inflate wages. They regularly petition the Legislature to increase licensing requirements to produce these two effects. 

Additional hours of police training may or may not be needed. But when those hours are compared to training requirements in other occupations, it’s obvious that the discrepancy cannot be explained by the relative danger to the public posed by the particular occupation. The state needs to do more than rethink police training requirements. It needs to rethink the way it approaches all occupational license requirements.

Gov. Chris Sununu signed a bill this week to make permanent the emergency changes expanding telemedicine services. The restrictions on telemedicine were not primarily to protect patients. They were to protect medical providers from competition. When the state makes it illegal to see a Boston doctor via video, patients have to see their local physicians. 

Prohibitions on the practice of telemedicine are an extension of occupational licensing laws. Everyone knows you have to have a state medical license to practice medicine. But licensing laws also have prevented people from consulting online with doctors who are licensed in other states, even though technology makes this easy.

The percentage of occupations that require a state license has exploded, going from about 5% in the early 1950s to about 20% today. Economists have suspected that the growth in state occupational licensing laws has contributed to the decline in American mobility. If you’re licensed in one state, moving to another state can mean starting the licensing process all over again, as many states don’t recognize other state licenses. 

A study published this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research supports that theory, concluding that licensing could account for about 8 percent of the decline in mobility. 

Researchers Morris Kleiner of the University of Minnesota and Ming Xu of Queens University studied occupational license requirements in U.S. states from the 1980s through 2016. They found that “licensed workers are 24% less likely to switch occupations and 3% less likely to become unemployed in the following year.”

As they wrote, “occupational licensing has a strong and negative effect on worker labor market flows, but is associated with higher wage growth, whether a worker is staying in a licensed occupation or switching into a licensed occupation.”

The connection to higher wages has been well established. When the state erects a large barrier to entry for an occupation, thus restricting the supply of practitioners, compensation for that occupation rises. Who pays for that? Consumers do. And the costs outweigh the benefits.

“Existing studies have yet to find a definitive link between licensing restrictions and their stated purpose of improving service quality,” Utah State University researchers concluded in 2018. 

Though improved quality is not evident, the barrier to entry created by licensing laws is significant. Kleiner and Xu find that “occupational licensing represents a barrier to entry for both unemployed workers (1.2% lower entrance rate) and workers who enter from other occupations (24.1% lower entrance rate).”

So not only are occupational licensing laws increasing consumer costs without demonstrating improvements in service quality, they’re also harming the broader economy by reducing economic mobility. 

This hurts New Hampshire, which relies on migration for economic and population growth. New Hampshire has the second-lowest fertility rate in the nation (behind only Vermont). A UNH Carsey Institute analysis of Census data earlier this year showed that New Hampshire would have lost population in recent years were it not for people moving here from other states. 

Occupational licensing laws, both in New Hampshire and elsewhere, make it harder for people to move here and to find work if they do. That has a negative effect on our economic growth. 

We can add this to the long list of reasons why lawmakers should reform the state’s occupational licensing laws. 

Cigarette smokers and flavored tobacco scavengers from Massachusetts produced a surge of New Hampshire tobacco tax revenue that almost single-handedly prevented a business tax increase, preliminary, unaudited state figures suggest.

State tobacco tax collections rose significantly in March, April and June, putting tobacco tax revenue $14.5 million (7.3%) higher than budgeted and $13.7 million (6.9%) higher than last year, according to the Department of Administrative Services’ June revenue report. 

Revenue from the federal tobacco settlement was $2.9 million above plan, for a total tobacco-related increase over budget projections of $17.4 million. Preliminary, cash figures suggest that the state missed triggering an automatic business tax hike by $15.35 million. 

In the last state budget, lawmakers included a provision that would trigger automatic business tax hikes if state general and education fund revenue fell at least 6% below projections. Based on June’s cash figures, revenues appear to have fallen 5.4% below projections. These are preliminary figures, however, and are subject to revision when adjustments are made based on the state’s later, more thorough accounting of the year’s revenues.

If these figures hold, business owners could reasonably thank smokers and Massachusetts lawmakers for helping to prevent those automatic tax hikes. Tobacco tax revenue was 34.6% above budget in June, 34.9% above budget in April, and 10% above budget in March.

Department of Revenue Administration staff say those increases are most likely caused by smokers stocking up for the first lockdown and in anticipation of a second lockdown, combined with Massachusetts residents crossing the border to buy flavored tobacco. 

Massachusetts banned the sale of flavored tobacco products, including flavored snuff and chewing tobacco, effective June 1. In addition to a cigarette sales surge, state tobacco tax data show a large increase in smokeless tobacco sales, particularly snuff, in June. 

Sales of what the state classifies as “other tobacco products,” meaning everything excluding cigarettes and premium cigars, have spiked in recent months, surpassing 7% of all tobacco sales in June. 

A sizable portion of that is likely related to the Massachusetts ban on flavored tobacco products. In addition to flavored smokeless tobacco, the ban also includes menthol and other flavored cigarettes as well as flavored vaping products. 

New Hampshire budget writers expected to supplement state revenues this year by applying the tobacco tax to electronic cigarettes. Last year, legislators expanded the tobacco tax to cover e-cigarettes, even though there is no tobacco in e-cigarettes. 

The tax went into effect on January 1, but it has produced less revenue than expected. By the end of the state’s 2020 fiscal year on June 30, taxes on e-cigarettes had generated just $1.2 million. 

Legislators budgeted $5.7 million in revenue from e-cigarette sales for Fiscal Year 2021, which began on July 1. Based on the first six months of collections this year (covering the final half of Fiscal Year 2020), that projection seems unrealistic. Collections so far suggest that the state could expect to bring in less than half what it projected to take from e-cigarette sales in FY 2021.  

On June 30, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue that states cannot exclude religious institutions from participating in school choice programs. New Hampshire has a similar scholarship program and a similar constitutional provision to the ones that were under discussion in the Espinoza case.

On July 8, the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy presented an online discussion of the case and its impact on New Hampshire, featuring two experts on the question of religious liberty and alternative education.

Tim Keller, senior attorney for the Institute for Justice, was a co-counsel for the plaintiff in the case.

Kate Baker is executive director of the Children’s Scholarship Fund N.H., which administers a New Hampshire tax-credit scholarship program.

In a webinar for the Josiah Bartlett Center, they explained the Espinoza ruling and its effect on New Hampshire.

We posted the video of that discussion on our newly resurrected YouTube channel here.

 

On Monday, the Josiah Bartlett Center reported on our website (which you should read religiously because you’re smart and you want to drop impressive knowledge on unsuspecting strangers at cocktail parties, whenever we can have those again) that preliminary state revenue figures suggest there won’t be automatic business tax hikes for the 2021 fiscal year. 

The key word there is “suggest.” A business tax increase is still a possibility, if a remote one.

Last year’s state budget contained a provision that would trigger a Business Profits Tax increase of 2.6% and a Business Enterprise Tax increase of $12.5 percent if state General and Education Fund revenue fell at least 6% below projections. 

State collections for June, the final month of the fiscal year, show that General and Education Fund revenues fell below plan for the year by 5.4%. But the June report is based on cash collections as of the end of June. The numbers are always adjusted later, and the totals are not final and official until the audited financial report is released in December. 

We looked back at state revenue reports through 2007 (the last year for which reports are posted online) and found five years between 2007 and 2019 in which there was at least a $20 million difference between the June cash report and the final audited revenue figures.

The differences are as follows:

2008: $20.4 million

2010: $78.5 million

2012: $27.2 million

2016: $67 million

2019: $-25.1 million

Only in 2019 was the audited figure lower than the June cash figure, and most of that change (more than $16 million) was attributable to business tax refunds. But there was a drop of about $9 million not related to tax refunds. 

If the final, audited General and Education Fund revenues for FY 2020 are lower than June’s reported revenues by $15.35 million, the tax increases would be triggered. 

That would be an unusually large drop, but it’s not unprecedented. Businesses face the prospect of spending the next six months in tax-rate limbo, which can affect hiring and other spending plans. 

If you’re uncertain whether your taxes are going to go up, you’re more likely to save cash and avoid hiring, especially since payroll makes up the largest share of the Business Enterprise Tax, which is scheduled to rise by 12.5% if the revenue trigger is met. 

Legislators had the chance to remove this uncertainty and repeal the tax-hike trigger. But, hoping for a tax increase, they refused. 

We’ll have a better idea of the situation in a few weeks, when the state releases June preliminary accrual report. That’s a follow-up report to the June cash report. It includes a fuller financial picture and tends to be much closer to the final, audited report released in December.

For now, business owners and managers should keep the celebrations on hold.  

New Hampshire businesses will not suffer automatic tax hikes early next year, new figures released by the Department of Revenue Administration suggest.

A provision in last year’s state budget would have triggered automatic business tax increases if general and education fund revenue fell at least 6% below projections for the 2020 fiscal year. The newly released numbers for the end of the 2020 fiscal year show a 5.4% decline.

Had revenue fallen another $15.35 million, the tax hikes would have been triggered. But higher-than-anticipated collections from the tobacco tax ($14.5 million), insurance taxes ($9 million, the lottery ($2.9 million) and the tobacco settlement ($2.9 million) slowed the decline and kept revenue from hitting the -6% trigger. 

Though interest and dividends revenue for the year was 6.8% less than projected, an $11.7 million increase this June vs. last June helped slow the overall revenue slide.

The numbers are not final until audited at the end of the calendar year. Still, these official but unaudited numbers offer some much-needed good news for New Hampshire employers.

“If this holds true after the audited figures have been released, every business in New Hampshire will have dodged a bullet.” Jim Roche, president of the Business and Industry Association, New Hampshire’s statewide chamber of commerce, told the Josiah Bartlett Center. “With all the struggles businesses are experiencing as they come back from the COVID-19 pandemic, higher taxes are the last thing they need.”

“Legislators should have taken this tax-hike trigger off the books when employers asked,” Andrew Cline, president of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, said. “Instead, legislators gambled with the livelihoods of many small business owners and their employees. Though employers seem to have gotten lucky, they should’ve been able to rely on their legislators, not Lady Luck.” 

The numbers are contained in the Department of Revenue Administration’s June Monthly Revenue Focus report, which tallies the state’s revenue for June and for the entire fiscal year, which ended June 30th. 

The report shows business tax revenue to be 14.6% lower than projected. The Business Profits Tax was down 14.7% and the Business Enterprise Tax 14.3%. 

The Meals and Rentals Tax was 11.6% below projections, and the Interest and Dividends Tax 6.8% below. 

The Tobacco Tax posted a 7.3% gain over projections, and the Insurance Tax a 7.2% gain.

A surge in Tobacco Tax revenue is particularly notable. The June report notes a 56% increase in tobacco stamp sales (which means cigarettes) in June 2020 vs. June 2019. The state saw a similar spike, of 50%, in March. 

When compared to the 2019 fiscal year, 2020 general and education fund revenues fell by 7 percent, with business taxes leading the decline.

The state experienced a 19.3 percent drop in business tax revenue from 2019, with Business Profits Tax revenue falling by 16.5% and Business Enterprise Tax revenue falling by 23.6%. 

Meals and Rentals Tax revenue was down 6.5% from 2019, and proceeds from the Interest and Dividends tax were down 4.6%. 

The Tobacco Tax posted the biggest increase year-over-year, showing a 6.9% gain.

Amid all of the gloomy figures, the monthly numbers for June offer some encouraging news. June revenues — led by tobacco, interest & dividends, liquor, utility property and business profits — were higher than last June’s by a total of $1.4 million.