The budget shortfall in Kansas dipped again Wednesday as state tax collections in February came in roughly $36.9 million above projections.
The state collected more than $330 million in revenue last month, according to the Kansas Department of Revenue.
That brings the current year’s budget shortfall down to about $280 million.
Individual income tax money came in more than $26 million above estimates; retail sales tax brought in $7.6 million more than the state projected.
“Month-to-month sales tax have increased 2.4 percent, and is a hopeful sign that Kansans’ income growth means they have more money to spend,” Secretary of Revenue Sam Williams said in a statement.
February marks the fourth straight month Kansas has met its tax estimates, after failing to do so for much of the past year.
“It would be odd to celebrate that our shortfall is only $280 million,” said Rep. Brett Parker, D-Overland Park. “We’re definitely trending in the right direction now, but a $280 million shortfall is still a massive problem.”
State officials in November lowered revenue estimates for fiscal 2017, which ends on June 30, by more than $345 million.
“I think we need a lot more time before we can really say, ‘Oh, look, the problem’s solved’ or ‘Everything’s working great,’ ” said Rep. Tom Cox, R-Shawnee. “But I’d like to be optimistic that we’ve turned the corner and these numbers will continue to be like this moving forward.”
Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, R-Overland Park, said he’s confident the state will meet tax estimates for the rest of the 2017 fiscal year.
“The good news is we don’t have to worry about the hole getting bigger,” Denning said.
Lawmakers will have to find a way to close the budget gap before the end of June.