The federal government spent $319 billion more than it collected in revenue during the 2005 fiscal year, according to the final budget numbers jointly released by the Treasury Department and the White House's Office of Management and Budget.

Measured strictly by dollars, the $319 billion shortfall is the third largest in history, trailing only the 2003 and 2004 fiscal years. But measured as 2.6 percent of the gross domestic product, the figure is well under deficits run in the 1980s as a percentage of the economy. In July, the White House office estimated a $333 billion shortfall, and in February, a $427 billion shortfall.

"As a percent of GDP, the 2005 deficit was lower than the deficits of 16 of the last 25 years," the joint report said.

Administration officials described the lowered deficits as the result of a strong economy and credited the final numbers to growing revenues. According to the Treasury, receipts in 2005 were 14.6 percent higher than in 2004. Almost $13 billion of that increase comes from corporate income taxes, while lower-than-expected individual income tax revenues were offset by payroll, excise and estate tax gains.

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