Delivering yet another blast of bad news to beleaguered Kansans, the state on Monday released monthly revenue figures that fell far short of expectations in December.
It’s the latest evidence that Gov. Sam Brownback’s reckless tax cuts will lead to continued budget crises in 2016. All kinds of state services — from education to prisons to roads to social services — will be eligible to be on the chopping block. Again!
▪ The new report showed individual income tax collections were an appalling $26 million below what state officials expected in December, the sixth month of the 2015-16 state budget.
Kansas now has collected slightly less in individual income taxes in this fiscal year than it did in a comparable period in 2014 — and in 2013, 2012 and 2011 (see chart at end of this piece). The tax cuts are not drawing more jobs or more high-paying jobs to the state.
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Attention Brownback sycophants: This is not a one-month problem for the Sunflower State but a recurring one.
▪ Sales tax receipts were $14 million short of predictions — a huge 7 percent miss by state officials.
The bottom line: The governor and the Legislature may have to slash even more spending than earlier thought just to balance the next fiscal year’s budget, which starts July 1.
Alas, because Brownback and the Legislature spent the state’s $700 million cash reserve in previous years to fill in the gaps caused by the 2013 tax cuts, Kansas has no ability to simply dip into savings to cover its problems.
So far, Brownback has taken a “what, me worry” approach to the very bad news.
He recently has said he’s not going to revisit the tax cuts even though critics make the very good point that they need to be rolled back so the state will have the money needed to provide stronger basic services to three million Kansans.
Just how the tax cuts have affected revenues can be seen by looking at this timeline. It show how revenue collections figures stack up through December 31 of the last five fiscal years, essentially through the first half of each year:
▪ In 2011: $1.338 billion in individual income taxes and a total of $2.907 billion from all taxes.
▪ In 2012: $1.430 billion in individual income taxes and a total of $3.089 billion.
▪ In 2013: $1.149 billion in individual income taxes and a total of $2.807 billion.
▪ In 2014: $1.098 billion in individual income taxes and a total of $2.791 billion.
▪ In 2015: $1.087 billion in individual income taxes and a total of $2.843 billion.