SAN FRANCISCO — California revenues in February fell $322 million below projections in Gov. Jerry Brown's budget after exceeding expectations by about $5 billion a month earlier, according to the Department of Finance.

Personal income tax receipts for the state's general fund fell $429 million below the budget forecast of $2 billion, with tax withholdings down $187 million from projections, according to a statement Friday from the DOF.

The unexpected boon to state coffers in January was due to a big increase in personal income tax receipts after the November passage of Proposition 30, which raised income taxes on the wealthy and drove people to pay more at the start of the year, according to the DOF.

With the help of an improving economy and the higher taxes, California's revenues have increased, helping to stabilize the state budget.

After last month's big boost, year-to-date revenue remains $4.7 billion above the governor's forecast of $54 billion.

Finance officials said tax refunds given in February rose $331 million above expectations, partly due to a late start to the tax season because of the uncertainty of the federal "sequestration" process.

Sales and use tax collections came in $29 million above the month's forecast, and corporate tax revenues came in $25 million above estimates.

Last week, California controller John Chiang said February state revenues came in almost on track with estimates in Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget, as the economy shows signs of a recovery.

Differences in methodology and timing are typically the reasons for the differences in the two departments' revenue tallies.

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