Politics & Government

State revenue tops forecast for August

TOPEKA — The Kansas revenue department said Monday that the state collected $6.9 million more in taxes than had been expected for August.

The preliminary report put August revenue at $376.8 million. The state's economic forecasters had predicted August collections to total $369.9 million.

Final numbers won't be released for several days as the agency adjusts the totals to account for various transfers and other factors.

Through the first two months of the state's fiscal year, which began July 1, Kansas is down in revenue collections by $29.3 million. That's because the state delayed the payment of some $31 million in income tax refunds in June. The delays were part of the state government's efforts to finish the 2009 budget year in the black.

Kansas legislators expect the state will continue to see soft revenue collections through the rest of the year.

Gov. Mark Parkinson issued a statement saying the revenue report was a sign the state's economy "is on a path to recovery."

"This revenue report is an encouraging sign, and it reminds us that our path to recovery will be series of calm and reasonable steps, not a rush to decisions," Parkinson said.

Alan Conroy, director of legislative research, said the report was "modest" good news about state revenues. The better indicator will be the figure for September, which will include all the back-to-school sales tax receipts, quarterly income tax filings and any increase in compensating use tax related to the Cash for Clunkers program, which increased vehicle sales.

The clunker program provided cash incentives for the purchase of new vehicles. The program ended Aug. 24, but it is expected some of the money from the sales had not been paid when the August revenue figures were calculated.

Conroy said the state's estimating group will reconcile revenue projections in November to account for the refund delays. At that time, it will also give a better indication of how much tax revenue the state can anticipate through June 30, 2010, and into the 2011 fiscal year.

Last week, the House Appropriations Committee began a series of meetings on how to trim state spending. In July, legislative researchers predicted the state could face a budget shortfall of $530 million in its 2011 fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2010.

But Parkinson has said the figure is based on pessimistic assumptions about state revenues and noted that the first official economic forecast for fiscal 2011 won't be issued until November.

  Comments