Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kansas Tax Revenue Tumbles Again ; Revenue: Receipts from Sales, Use Taxes Lower Than Expected

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kansas Tax Revenue Tumbles Again ; Revenue: Receipts from Sales, Use Taxes Lower Than Expected

Article excerpt

Tax revenue flowing into the Kansas general treasury fell short of experts' prognostications for the fourth consecutive month, elevating prospects of Gov. Sam Brownback ordering mid-year budget adjustments, officials said Monday.

Collections were $61 million below official expectations in July, August and September, but that weakness spilled into October. The Kansas Department of Revenue reported the state took in $11 million less than predicted last month.

The trend intensifies pressure on Brownback to respond to shortfalls in the budget adopted by lawmakers in June following a contentious session. It ended when Republican lawmakers joined with the governor to embrace spending cuts, amnesty for tax dodgers and tax hikes on cigarettes and general sales in a bid to stabilize the current fiscal year's budget.

A cushion of about $70 million built into the budget has vaporized, and some legislators have predicted the deficit could bulge to $100 million.

In October, the state's individual income tax receipts beat estimates by $13 million. That good news was engulfed by inflated expectations for revenue from oil and gas production, as well as taxation on general sales. These two categories were $23 million short of projections.

"Sales and use tax receipts have continued to follow the sluggish national trend and fell short of expectations, negating gains in individual income tax receipts," said Nick Jordan, secretary of the revenue department.

Brownback has authority to respond promptly by shifting cash or ordering deeper cuts in spending prior to arrival of the 2016 Legislature in January. After winning re-election in 2014, he took quick steps to blunt a deficit of more than $280 million and worked with the 2015 Legislature to close a remaining deficit greater than $400 million.

State government in Kansas has struggled to meet revenue targets following action by Brownback and conservative Republicans in 2012 and 2013 to reduce individual income tax rates and repeal an income tax on owners of 330,000 businesses. …

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