Topeka Kansas’ revenue collections in August exceeded official forecasts by $16.8 million, officials said Wednesday, suggesting more positive signs for the state’s economy.
The Department of Revenue released the figures showing the fifth month in a row that Kansas revenues beat expectations. Total revenue in August was $436.4 million, compared with the $419.6 million forecast for the month back in April.
Kansas revenues are running $40.2 million ahead of estimates for the first two months of the state’s fiscal year, which began July 1. When factoring in the positive collections in April through June and cuts to state spending approved by the 2011 Legislature, Kansas is projected to end the next fiscal year with close to $200 million in cash reserves.
Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan said the new figures were positive, but cautioned that “the economy is still fragile and we have a lot of work to do.”
“The healthy rise in state sales and use taxes show an increase in confidence by businesses and citizens,” Jordan said. “We are working hard to keep the recovery going by focusing on creating a pro-growth environment in Kansas to attract private-sector jobs.”
Jordan said the sales tax collections showed an improvement over previous months in which collections were flat or had minimal growth.
Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has asked Jordan to lead a task force that is looking at the state’s overall tax structure and to make recommendations for modifying the state’s tax rates. One idea proposed by some House Republicans during the 2011 legislative session was to phase out or eliminate entirely the state’s income tax to make the state more attractive to businesses.
However, Democrats and advocates for the arts argue that Brownback should reverse his veto of $700,000 in funding for the Kansas Arts Commission, in light of growing state revenues. The governor deleted the state funding in May, saying the money was needed elsewhere in government to fund core programs such as public safety, education and social services.
Sales tax collections exceeded the forecast by $7.1 million. Individual income taxes totaled $3.4 million more than the forecast, while corporate incomes tax payments beat the estimate by $524,000.
Monthly targets were set in April by a group of economists and are used to prepare the state budget. Overall, the economists predicted that Kansas would collect about $5.7 billion in the current fiscal year.