Politics & Government

Kansas’ January tax receipts $47 million short of projections

Tax receipts for Kansas missed expectations by nearly $50 million in January, exacerbating the state’s already pressing budget problems.

The state missed projections by 8.4 percent, taking in about $560 million in tax revenue for January, $47 million less than had been projected in November, according to a release from the Department of Revenue on Friday.

The department said tax receipts were lower than expected because the state sent out more tax refunds in January than the previous year and had weaker than expected sales tax numbers for the Christmas season.

“We are glad that Kansas taxpayers are getting their refund checks earlier than last year. Unfortunately that negatively affects our tax receipts for this month,” said Secretary of Revenue Nick Jordan in the release.

The department issued $30 million in refund checks to more than 64,000 people in January compared with less than $8 million to 12,600 people the year before.

The numbers probably still will add fuel to the argument against tax cuts ushered in by Gov. Sam Brownback during his first term.

Individual income tax revenue was more than 13 percent below expectations for the month, missing the mark by more than $35 million and driving the overall underperformance.

The state already faced a $279 million shortfall this fiscal year, which lasts through June, and a shortfall of about $648 million for next fiscal year. Brownback’s budget director told lawmakers this past week that the state needs to pass a budget fix for the current year by mid-February or it will be difficult to pay bills on time.

“These numbers are like a financial nightmare, and it’s a nightmare that will end tragically if the governor doesn’t wake up soon,” said House Minority Leader Tom Burroughs, D-Kansas City. “… How much worse does it have to get?”

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