Politics & Government

Kansas surpasses revenue estimates by $22 million

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The state surpassed revenue estimates by about $22 million in February after falling short the previous month.

It beat expectations for individual income tax revenue by 42 percent, taking in $27 million more than expected.

“Kansas is approaching historically low unemployment rates, meaning more people are working, and that is reflected in higher individual income tax and withholding receipts,” said Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan.

The state remains about $37 million off pace from its projections, which were revised in November and made less optimistic for the current fiscal year that ends in June. The state missed revenue estimates by $47 million in January.

But it appears to have recovered in February, surpassing expectations by 7.7 percent for the month, according to the Kansas Department of Revenue.

Compared with last year, the state still took in about $19 million less overall for the month and $23 million less in individual income taxes.

For the fiscal year through February, the state has taken in $3.6 billion, about $67 million less than at this point last year.

Republican and Democratic leaders in the House offered differing views of the revenue news.

“This is a positive step, and we hope to see consistently higher collections in the months to come,” House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, said in a statement. “Regardless, the House Appropriations Committee will continue to look for efficiencies and develop a budget that protects core state services as well as Kansas taxpayers.”

House Minority Leader Tom Burroughs, D-Kansas City, acknowledged that February revenue numbers are positive but noted the state “still faces a $600 million projected budget deficit for fiscal year 2016. We can’t cut our way out of this hole and therefore difficult decisions are going to need to be made to place our state on a sustainable path forward.”

Reach Bryan Lowry at 785-296-3006 or blowry@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BryanLowry3.