The deficit for the first 10 months of the 2012 budget year, which ends Sept. 30, totaled $974 billion, the Treasury Department said Friday. That’s 11.5 percent less than the $1.1 trillion gap in the same period last year.
A slightly better economy has boosted income tax receipts, which have increased 6 percent so far this year. Corporate income tax receipts rose nearly 30 percent compared to a year ago. Spending has dipped 0.3 percent.
Still, President Obama will almost certainly face re-election after running $1 trillion deficits each year in office. GOP candidate Mitt Romney has criticized Obama for failing to cut the deficit in half, as he pledged to do during his 2008 campaign.
The White House last month forecast that the budget gap will total $1.2 trillion this year, down from $1.3 trillion in 2011.
This year’s gap is equal to about 7.8 percent of the U.S. economy, down from 8.5 percent in 2011. The Obama administration expects the deficit to fall just under $1 trillion next year, to $991 billion.
Obama and congressional Republicans are at odds over how much to spend, where to cut and whether tax increases should be on the table. Republicans control the House, while Democrats have a slim majority in the Senate.