CBO Reports Preliminary Budget Totals for FY 2020

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Preliminary budgetary results for the 2020 fiscal year, which ended on September 30, have been released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). 

In the Monthly Budget Review for September, the CBO reports that the unofficial budget deficit for 2020 was $3.1 trillion, an increase of $2.1 trillion or 218 percent over the prior year. The Treasury Department is expected to release its official accounting later this month. 

According to CBO, total federal revenues – which were initially 6 percent higher than 2019 in the first half of 2020 – plummeted in the second half, largely due to the economic destruction caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing tax breaks allowed in relief legislation. Overall, the federal government collected $3.4 trillion in revenues in 2020, a reduction of $44 billion, or 1.2 percent, from 2019.

Like revenues, spending was also higher the first half of 2020, but after Congress enacted four COVID relief packages in March-April, outlays accelerated even more. Overall, outlays totaled just over $6.5 trillion, $2.1 trillion (or 47.3 percent) more than in 2019.  

2019 and 2020 cumulative deficits



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