TOPEKA, Kansas — Kansas collected $4 million less in taxes than expected in August, and Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's administration said Friday the "flat" revenues were accompanied by indications of economic growth.
The preliminary report on tax collections from the state Department of Revenue comes amid a debate over whether personal income tax cuts enacted at Brownback's urging are boosting the economy as promised or jeopardizing the state's finances. The Legislature's nonpartisan research staff is projecting a budget shortfall of $238 million for July 2016, though the figure is likely to fluctuate month-to-month as tax collections are reported.
The department said the state collected $421 million in taxes this month, about 1 percent below the official forecast of $425 million.
The state saw a slight surplus in tax collections in July. Since the current fiscal year began July 1, the state has collected about $829 million in revenues, against projections of nearly $832 million. The difference is about $2.4 million, or 0.3 percent.
The relatively steady collections in July and August came after tax collections fell a total of $334 million short of expectations in April, May and June, leaving them 5.6 percent short for the previous fiscal year. The total collected for the previous fiscal year was about $5.6 billion.
But the Department of Revenue reported Friday that corporate income tax collections for July and August were running ahead of expectations and were stronger than last year's collections.
Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan noted that sales tax and even personal income tax collections in August also were stronger than they were in August 2013.
"These are positive indicators for a growing Kansas economy," Jordan said in a statement.
Still, individual income tax collections aren't meeting official projections. The state expected to collect $328 million in individual income taxes in July and August and took in less than $317 million, or 3.4 percent less than anticipated.
"Every month, Sam Brownback's experiment drives the Kansas budget deeper in the red," said Paul Davis, the Democratic candidate challenging Brownback's re-election this year.
Kansas Department of Revenue: http://www.ksrevenue.org/index.html
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