US budget deficit grows by $260M in December
WASHINGTON – The U.S. annual budget deficit is on track to reach $1 trillion for a fifth straight year, though government revenue jumped last month as people paid some taxes early to avoid higher rates in 2013.
The Treasury Department said Friday that the federal deficit grew just $260 million in December. But for the first three months of the budget year, the deficit widened to $292 billion.
In December, tax revenue rose 12 percent to $270 billion. Spending fell 17 percent to nearly the same amount.
The budget year begins on Oct. 1. The size of the annual deficit will hinge, in part, on how Congress and the White House resolve a debate over raising the nation’s borrowing limit.
Republicans are demanding deep spending cuts in return for any increase.
The deficit, in simplest terms, is the amount of money the government has to borrow when revenues fall short of expenses. The monthly figures are volatile and can be affected by calendar quirks that shift payments from one month to another.