Politics & Government

Kansas taxes $15 million short of expectations for December

Kansas collected $15 million less in taxes than anticipated in December, potentially hindering efforts to close state budget shortfalls.

The state Department of Revenue said Wednesday that the month’s disappointing figures resulted from volatile corporate income tax collections, which fell significantly short of expectations, rather than from a drop in personal income taxes.

The department said the state collected $553 million in taxes during the month when it expected to take in $568 million, a difference of 2.7 percent. Corporate income tax collections for the month were $56 million – nearly $20 million, or 26 percent, less than anticipated.

“We’ve always recognized that corporate income taxes are volatile and hard to predict,” Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan said in a statement. “This month is evidence of that.”

The department said tax collections since the current fiscal year began July 1 were $2.73 billion. That’s $12 million, or 0.4 percent, short of expectations. Corporate income tax collections were also significantly short of expectations.

The agency’s report capped a two-week stretch of unpleasant fiscal news for Kansas.

The state Department of Labor reported earlier in December that 4,400 fewer Kansans were employed in private-sector, non-farm jobs in November than in November 2013. And a three-judge Shawnee County District Court panel ruled Tuesday that state spending on public schools is inadequate under the Kansas Constitution and suggested annual aid to school districts needs to increase by at least $548 million.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback concentrated efforts in 2012 and 2013 to boost the state’s economy by cutting personal income taxes and exempting the owners of 191,000 businesses from income taxes. The state now faces projected budget shortfalls totaling $714 million through June 2016.

Some GOP legislators have floated revenue-raising proposals, but their leaders are not enthusiastic about backtracking on Brownback’s policies after lawmakers open their annual session Jan. 12.