Kansas tax receipts finish $27M above estimates in February

? The state of Kansas collected $26.7 million more in tax receipts in February than revenue forecasters had expected, the Kansas Department of Revenue reported Thursday.

That means for the first eight months of the current fiscal year, total revenues have exceeded estimates by more than $275 million.

Revenue Secretary Sam Williams said the report indicates the Kansas economy might be gaining steam, but he continued to caution against drawing conclusions too soon.

“There is a growing sense of optimism reflected in tax receipts, but we have to be patient for April receipts to accurately identify economic growth,” he said in a news release. “Hopefully this is a sign that businesses are making investments and Kansans are buying more goods and services.”

So far this fiscal year, revenues have exceeded projections every month. Much of the increase has been due to legislative action in 2017 to reverse course on many of the income tax cuts that former Gov. Sam Brownback championed in 2012.

But retail sales taxes, which had lagged behind projections for several months, now seem to be bouncing back.

The state collected $175.6 million in sales tax revenue in February. That was $7.5 million more than expected, and $8 million more than the state collected in the same month last year.

So far this fiscal year, sales tax receipts are up $48.3 million compared to the same point last year.

Another factor affecting state revenues this year, however, is the sweeping federal tax package that Congress enacted in December. That prompted many people to prepay some of their state and local taxes before the beginning of the year so they could take a federal deduction for taxes paid to state and local governments.

Under the new federal law, that deduction is limited to $10,000 a year.

Williams has said it will take until April, when all tax filers are supposed to settle their tax bills, before officials will know how much of the recent increase in collections is due to the economy, and how much is due to the federal tax law changes.