The federal budget deficit widened in the fiscal year 2017 to the sixth highest deficit on record as government spending growth outpaced growth in tax collections for the second year in a row, the Treasury Department said Thursday. The budget shortfall rose to $666 billion in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, up $80 billion, or 14%, from the fiscal year 2016. That tracks with an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office, which had predicted a $668 billion deficit for the last fiscal year.
Federal tax receipts reached a record high in the fiscal year 2017, at $3.3 trillion, thanks to slightly faster growth, according to a senior Treasury official. But government outlays also hit a record high last year at nearly $4 trillion, 3% higher than they were in the previous fiscal year, thanks to increased spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, as well as higher interest payments on the public debt. READ MORE