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Archive for Thursday, July 6, 2000

Report puts upbeat tone on state’s fiscal outlook

July 6, 2000

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— The state collected $41.2 million more in tax revenues than it expected during its most recent fiscal year, and Gov. Bill Graves described those figures as good budget news.

Graves released the figures during a Statehouse news conference Wednesday. The figures show that individual and corporate income tax collections exceeded expectations, while retail sales tax collections fell short.

"We are obviously pleased to be in much better condition at the end of this fiscal year than we were a year ago at this time," Graves said.

The state's 2000 fiscal year ended Friday with $4.2 billion collected in the general fund, a 5.6 percent increase from last year, when receipts were $73.4 million less than expected.

The general fund is the largest source of money for Kansas government programs and where the state deposits most of its tax revenues.

Although the revenue figures won't be made final until later this month, they are not expected to change much.

Legislators based their budgeting decisions this year on revenue estimates made in November and revised in April. Because money was scarce for fiscal 2000, legislators approved only a 0.3 percent increase in general fund spending for fiscal 2001.

Lawmakers ended their 2000 session expecting to face more tough budget decisions in 2001.

Although Graves described the revenue collections as "very good news," he tempered his enthusiasm.

Graves said the state will face a $150 million "challenge" this fiscal year. He noted the state plans to divert an additional $90 million from its general fund to its transportation program, and receipts from a settlement with big tobacco companies will be $60 million less than the previous year.

The governor also said there will be demands for more spending on corrections and law enforcement officers, higher education and public schools. He said changing the way the state spends money on schools is his "No. 1 initiative" for next year.

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