For the first time in 17 months, Indiana’s monthly revenue collections exceeded the same month in the previous year, the state budget agency announced this week.

But collections so far in 2010 remain $64 million below last December’s projections, and remain 9%, or $897 million, below last year’s collections.

Revenue in March totaled $908 million, which is $7 million above last March’s collections. Revenue for the month came in $48 million above December projections, state analysts said.

Sales tax collections, which make up the bulk of Indiana’s revenue, totaled $460 million for the month — $7 million above a year ago’s collections. Individual income-tax collections totaled $285 million, also $7 million above last year’s level.

“Sales tax receipts exceeded prior year collections for the month of March, ending a streak of 16 consecutive months where current-month receipts were less than the same period from the prior year,” the state budget office said in a commentary on the month’s revenue released Monday.

Meanwhile, officials warned that the new federal health-care legislation could mean a $25 million hit to Indiana’s budget due to a loss of pharmacy rebates previously captured by the state.

“When this impact is counted, March represents another net-negative month compared to budget plan. But at least the trend of revenues consistently missing budget plan and prior year amounts has been interrupted for one month,” the budget agency said.

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