Missouri revenue drops 5 percent in May

JEFFERSON CITY | Missouri revenue for the nearly completed 2009 budget year is down 5 percent, and Gov. Jay Nixon's budget director said Wednesday that it's likely to get worse.

Budget Director Linda Luebbering said state revenue could fall even further in June, dropping the year's collections to around 6 percent below the 2008 level. Missouri's budget year ends June 30.

The Office of Administration reported that through May, 11 months into the current year, the state has collected $6.82 billion. In 2008, Missouri had collected $7.18 billion.

For the year, individual income taxes are down 1.5 percent, sales and use taxes are down 6.5 percent and corporate income and franchise taxes are down 13.2 percent compared with 2008. Those three taxes also posted double digit declines in May 2009 compared with May 2008.

Total state collections in May 2009 were 44.8 percent less than May 2008, but Luebbering said much of that drop is because of how Missouri is distributing tax refunds.

Refunds backed up as tax collections sunk, but Missouri now is using $250 million of federal economic stimulus money to pay hundreds of thousands of individual income tax refunds that otherwise could have been delayed until summer.

This year, the state distributed $239 million in tax refunds in May and only $85 million a year ago.

Lawmakers based the 2009 budget anticipating a 3.4 percent growth rate. In January, that was lowered to an expected 4 percent decline.

To keep the $22 billion budget balanced, Nixon's administration withheld $176 million from state agencies in January and recently cut an extra $10 million by directing departments to leave vacancies open and reduce travel and office expenses.