January Tax Receipts Fall $47.2 Million Below Expectations

By Kansas Association of School Boards
January 31, 2015

The state's budget hole just got deeper.

Tax receipts for January were $47.2 million below revenue projections — projections that had been lowered just several months ago.

This means balancing the budget will be even more difficult.

Legislators were already facing a $280 million revenue shortfall in the current fiscal year and $435 million in the next fiscal year, which starts July 1.

In recent days, state leaders have urged support of a stop-gap bill to avoid a cash-flow crisis in a couple of weeks. That measure includes delays in some school payments, ranging from $20 million to $46 million, and another bill includes $39 million in cuts to schools this year.

For January, state income taxes were 13 percent below estimates and sales taxes missed the mark by 4 percent.

In announcing the monthly revenue figures, Gov. Sam Brownback's administration noted an increase in tax refunds — $22 million more than January 2014 — and said Christmas sales were weaker than expected, possibly because of more online shopping where sales tax is frequently not collected.

"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 Kansas Department of Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan.

During January 2014, the Department of Revenue said it had issued $7.9 million in refund checks to 12,601 people. For the first month of 2015, the department said it has issued $30 million in refund checks to 64,601 people.  

But Kansas tax receipts continue to fall below estimates. Last month, tax collections were $15 million short of expectations.

The state's budget shortfalls have occurred after Brownback signed into law large state income tax cuts. Brownback has said the income tax cuts were needed to stimulate the economy.

Democrats and some Republicans have said the income tax cuts have failed to boost the economy while straining state services, such as education and welfare. Brownback has proposed increases in cigarette and liquor taxes, hefty transfers of funds from the highway department and cuts in school funding to bridge the revenue gap.