Topeka — The state collected $12.8 million more in revenues than expected in August, providing another dose of good news Tuesday for officials seeking signs of economic recovery.
Revenues were $337.9 million for the month, compared with the state's official estimate of $325.1 million. It was the fourth consecutive month that collections have exceeded expectations.
The state also took in $5.3 million more than expected in July, the first month of the 2005 fiscal year, creating a two-month bulge of $18.1 million. The latest figures were released by the Legislative Research Department.
"That's certainly better than the alternative," Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said. "You just have to be cautiously optimistic that we're starting to move out of the hole we've been in."
The state's latest financial forecast was issued in April, with officials expecting the revenues at $4.54 billion in fiscal 2005.
Revenues in fiscal 2004 were almost $4.52 billion, exceeding expectations for the year by $68.3 million, thanks to a bulge in collections in May and June.
The recent good news contrasts sharply with the bad news legislators received in previous years.
Officials have agreed that Kansas' economy was starting to slump before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and that the decline accelerated afterward, with layoffs in the aviation and telecommunications industries.
In fiscal 2002, revenue collections dropped almost 7 percent. Only in fiscal 2004, which ended June 30, did revenues exceed fiscal 2001 levels.
For July and August, individual income tax collections, at $281.4 million, were $5.4 million ahead of the estimate. Corporate tax collections were $3.7 million higher at $12.2 million.
Sales tax collections for the month, at $281.9 million, were only $128,000 behind the official estimate.