Kansas tax collections fell $11.66 million short of estimates in March, bringing the 2017 budget shortfall to more than $290 million.
March was the first month the state had failed to meet revenue projections since officials revised estimates in November 2016.
Although the state collected roughly $428.7 million in revenue in March, it wasn’t enough to continue that positive streak.
Rep. Troy Waymaster, a Bunker Hill Republican who leads the House budget committee, called the revenue dip “disheartening.”
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Lawmakers have been close to agreeing on a solution that would plug the budget hole for the current year, but Waymaster said the new revenue news would mean legislators will likely have to draw more money from a long-term investment fund they planned to tap in order to mend the budget hole.
“It’s unfortunate that that was the case,” Waymaster said of the revenue dip. “Because I think we were making some strides and actually meeting the numbers. But now we’re kind of taking a step back, and it does have some implications on ’18 and ’19.”
The underperformance is primarily due to individual income tax collections, which dipped below estimates by more than $11 million in March.
Better than expected performance for sales and cigarette taxes weren’t enough to stop the state from missing the March target.
Rep. Tom Burroughs, a Kansas City, Kan., Democrat on the House budget committee, said he wasn’t surprised to see the revenue numbers dip after positive gains the last few months.
“Bottom line is, we still have to find a revenue package that will meet just the base fundamental responsibilities of government,” Burroughs said.
The state is facing projected budget shortfalls of more than $1 billion through June 2019.
Lawmakers are still debating tax increases and other changes to help the state bring in more revenue in future budget years.
“The March revenue receipts continue the trends we have seen over the last few months,” Revenue Secretary Sam Williams said in a statement. “The withholding and state sales tax collections continue to improve, reflecting an encouraging job and consumer environment for Kansans.”