New York State tax revenues were close to expected levels in July, but still remain highly variable, according to Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

A July cash report, released by DiNapoli on Monday, showed that all funds tax collections in July were less than 0.1% above revised financial projections — an improvement from May and June, when tax revenues fell short of estimates.

“New York’s fiscal picture remains tied to the strength of the economic recovery. The economic outlook has deteriorated in recent months and that is making New York’s revenue outlook less certain,” DiNapoli said.

“Our month-to-month collections have been highly variable, and we need to be prepared for surprises, good or bad.”

DiNapoli gave a similar warning last month in his fiscal update for the first quarter, when he said revenues were unpredictable amidst an uncertain economy.

The comptroller’s report showed that through the first four months of 2012, all funds tax receipts of $20.7 billion were slightly more than revised projections, but down by 0.8% compared to last year.

The main factors in the year-over-year decline were the 1.4% drop in personal income tax collections and the 0.9% fall in consumption and use tax revenue.

Other taxes increased by 1.7%, year to date.

New York’s general fund ended July with a balance of $2.4 billion, which is $171.2 million lower than projected in the financial plan.

DiNapoli also recently released first quarter results for the state’s Common Retirement Fund, which is the third-largest public pension fund in the nation.

For the first quarter, the fund’s overall rate of return was -0.92%, with an estimated value of $146.5 billion.

“Like many investors, the New York State Common Retirement Fund has been weathering uncertainty in the financial markets since the end of our fiscal year in March,” DiNapoli said.

According to the Pew Center on the States, the fund remains among the highest funded plans in the country.

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