Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:47pm EST
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States began the new fiscal year with a $140 billion budget deficit, the third largest shortfall for any October, Treasury Department data showed on Wednesday.
The October deficit was smaller than both the $150 billion budget gap economists polled by Reuters had predicted and the $176 billion shortfall recorded in the same period a year ago.
The government has now posted a budget deficit for 25 straight months, the longest on record, the Treasury Department said.
In October, outlays rose to $286 billion from $280 billion in September and compared with $312 billion in October 2009, the department said.
Receipts totaled $146 billion compared to $135 billion a year earlier, the department said.
The October figures were released hours after the co-chairmen of a presidential commission to cut the budget deficit proposed reducing benefits and raising the U.S. pension retirement age.
That proposal comes days after Republicans wrested control of the House of Representatives from ruling Democrats as voters expressed unhappiness with federal spending levels.
The grim budget outlook will be a major challenge for House Republicans, who have promised budget cuts when they officially take control of the lower House in January.
In August, the Congressional Budget Office forecast a $1.066 trillion deficit for fiscal year 2011, which began October 1, up slightly from the March estimate of $996 billion.
The U.S. budget deficit for fiscal 2010, which ended September 30, narrowed to $1.294 trillion from a record $1.416 trillion in fiscal 2009.
- 1st month of new fiscal year (October) and $140 billion deficit is larger than 9 of 12 months during FY 2010
- Only 3 months during FY 2010 had less receipts than October 2010
- 6 months in FY 2010 had less outlays than October 2010
- Interest on Treasury Debt represented 8% of total outlays for October 2010
- Total interest paid on Treasury debt was $24.143 billion (Oct. 2010) versus $22.832 billion for October 2009)
- Budget estimate for Treasury Debt interest for FY 2011 is $464.706 Billion