There is no way to spin the state’s revenue numbers: They are terrible. September tax collections were $32 million less than expected. For the first three months of this fiscal year, tax collections were $61 million less than estimates. What’s particularly troubling is sales tax revenue. The Legislature and Gov. Sam Brownback raised the statewide sales tax rate to help offset the state’s budget shortfall. But September’s sales tax receipts were $12.5 million less than planned. It is the fifth consecutive month that sales tax collections have been less than anticipated – for a total shortfall over those five months of about $41.5 million. And keep in mind, lawmakers and Gov. Sam Brownback already spent down the state’s ending balance reserves, so there is almost no margin for budgeting error. If lawmakers aren’t worried yet, they should be. – Phillip Brownlee
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