The Kansas revenue picture took a hit in December, with individual income tax receipts about $26 million below projections.
Sales tax receipts also were off the mark, coming in $14 million below expectations.
The bad news could mean budget cuts in the coming legislative session, which convenes next week.
“It is the first time this fiscal year that individual income tax receipts have not grown compared to the prior fiscal year to date,” Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan said in a statement. “It is too soon to tell if this is a one-time event or not.”
Overall revenue receipts, which include such items as insurance premiums, interest and transfers, were about $28 million more than expectations, the department said. Included were about $56 million in budget transfers announced in December.
The disappointing tax report followed improved results for November, when tax receipts beat estimates by about $8 million. That was after revenue projections were revised downward for the fiscal year.
“The Brownback administration was ecstatic last month that we’d somehow turned the corner,” said Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat, “but we turned the corner and fell into a manhole.”
Hensley said the state remains in a budget crisis for fiscal year 2016, which runs through June.
Under previous estimates, the state would have ended the fiscal year with $5.6 million. The latest revenue numbers would put the ending balance $14 million in the red. If the revenue picture doesn’t brighten, the budget would have to be adjusted.
“With the Legislature going into session next week, it seems to me Brownback will pass the buck to the Legislature, for us to pass budget cuts to make sure we’re in the black for the end of the fiscal year,” Hensley said. “It’s more evidence that the Brownback tax experiment isn’t working, and it never will.”
The state can’t continue on this path, said House Minority Leader Tom Burroughs, a Kansas City, Kan., Democrat.
“It’s official. Kansas is broke,” Burroughs said in a statement. “Our children need their schools to be adequately funded, our roads and bridges need to be maintained and repaired, and general government programs and services need to be properly funded.”
House Speaker Ray Merrick, a Stilwell Republican, said in a statement that retail sales tax receipts are consistent with a national economy that is struggling under President Barack Obama.
“When the going gets tough, Kansas families pore over their household budgets,” Merrick said. “That is why I am committed to an in-depth review of the state budget to ensure each tax dollar is being spent as effectively as possible.”