Archive for Friday, December 5, 2008

State’s budget news keeps getting worse

December 5, 2008


— The state’s financial hole is getting deeper.

The latest bad news is smaller-than-expected revenue collections in November. General revenues for the month were 3.3 percent — or nearly $14 million — less than anticipated.

The Kansas Legislative Research Department’s latest report on revenues came less than a month after state officials and university economists issued a new financial forecast. That prediction was more pessimistic than the one Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and legislators had used in making past budget decisions.

But it might not have been pessimistic enough, Alan Conroy, the Research Department’s director, said Friday. The economy may be even weaker than the forecasters thought it was, he said.

“It was our best guess,” said Conroy, who is one of the forecasters. “Unfortunately, in this environment, the situation is changing on a daily basis.”

The state expected to collect nearly $410 million in revenues during November, including almost $181 million in individual income taxes, the largest source of general revenues.

But the state collected about $396 million in revenues. And individual income tax collections were less than $175 million — $6.2 million, or 3.5 percent short of the mark.

The Research Department’s report cautioned against reading trends from a single month’s worth of data. But Conroy said, “It is a concern.”

“The weak point is individual income taxes,” he said. “If the economy continues to weaken more than we anticipated, those numbers may be high.”

General revenues from July 1, when the 2009 fiscal year started, through Nov. 30, were about $2.24 billion, again about $14 million short of expectations.

The Research Department already was projecting that the state would end the current fiscal year on June 30 with a $141 million budget deficit. It also has said that if the gap between anticipated revenues and current spending commitments isn’t addressed, the gap will exceed $1 billion by June 30, 2010.

Sebelius already has asked agencies to draft recommendations for trimming 3 percent from their current budgets and told them to anticipate deeper reductions in fiscal 2010.

But some Republican legislators are criticizing the Democratic governor because she hasn’t yet used her legal authority to impose cuts before the 2009 Legislature convenes Jan. 12.

Sebelius planned to spend the day in budget meetings, spokeswoman Nicole Corcoran said. The governor and her staff are preparing her recommendations for the next legislative session.


Shardwurm 9 years ago

Really?Shocking.I guess it's time for a pay raise for all teachers.

Zype 9 years ago

"...The economy may be even weaker than the forecasters thought it was, he said....""...'It was our best guess,' said Conroy, who is one of the forecasters. 'Unfortunately, in this environment, the situation is changing on a daily basis.'..."Dur-du-durrrrrThe economy isn't doing so great. Brilliant revelation.I'm glad to see our government takes this seriously and prepares adequately.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 9 years ago

OMG I wish Sebelius had gone to Washington! Thank you, Lynn

justthefacts 9 years ago

There will be raises for anyone this year, including teachers. Anyone keeping a job should count themselves lucky. Everyone needs to read (or re-read) the Depression era information for a glimpse of how bad it's likely to get. Meanwhile, the KS legislature - not just the Gov- continues to approve pork barrel spending to fix up their digs. They're not just shoring up and preserving an historic building. They are guilding the lilly at everyone's expense (except the vendors and service providers who are party to the spending spree).

dinglesmith 9 years ago

Both parties need to be ashamed of themselves. I've got my choice between tax and spend Democrats and borrow and spend Republicans. Neither of them can live within their means. Now we need deficit spending to get out of a recession. But we played that card already out of sheer greed to juice up the economy and artificially create wealth. Anyone who blames one party over the other needs to confess their partisan agenda.

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