The Congressional Budget Office released updated projections today to find that the federal budged deficit is smaller than at this point last year, and smaller than at any time since the 2008 financial crisis. There are three main reasons for that: the slowly-improving economy is putting more people back to work, which means fewer safety net payments and more tax revenue; defense spending cuts; and the tax hikes from January 1 2013 have gone into effect.

Indeed, it’s not the spending side of the ledger that has shrank the budget deficit, but the tax side. Projected outlays for the first half of the 2013 fiscal year are $11 billion smaller than in 2012, while the federal government collected $220 billion more in tax revenue.