Earlier this week, Kansas Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan offered an excuse for why state revenues — yet again — fell short of expectations in October.
“Sales and use tax receipts have continued to follow the sluggish national trend,” Jordan noted.
Actually, that’s not accurate, as national figures reveal.
This is pretty much par for the course in the world of fantasyland politics that exists in the administration of Gov. Sam Brownback.
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Ignore reality and spin the narrative to hide the real cause of the Sunflower State’s horrible and ongoing revenue woes, which is the destructive income tax cuts that Brownback and the Legislature approved in 2012.
On Friday, state officials expect to revise downward their projections for revenues in the current fiscal year. The lower-than-predicted sales tax receipts that have occurred for four straight months would be a big contributor to any such decision.
In turn, Brownback could be forced to make even more budget cuts to public services in coming months — especially since he adamantly says he won’t revise his losing income tax cut strategy. Oh, and the state has spent almost all its reserve funds the last two years.
Back to the sales tax woes.
Here’s one sobering fact, taken from a Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government report published in September.
Sales tax revenue was up 4.1 percent in the United States for April through June 2015, the most recent months for which data are available.
However, Kansas sales tax receipts fell 0.6 percent for that period.
That was the eighth worst rate for the 45 U.S. states that have sales taxes.
In the Plains area measured in the report, Iowa (up 2.9 percent), Minnesota (up 3.3 percent) and South Dakota (up 1 percent) did better than Kansas.
The states with sales tax growth rates worse than Kansas were Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Utah.
Here are a few other discouraging facts about sales tax receipts in Kansas.
Keep in mind that Brownback and the Legislature in mid-2015 boosted the sales tax from 6.15 percent to 6.5 percent to try to gain more money to pay the bills and make up for the income tax losses.
However, since a new fiscal year began July 1, sales tax revenues have slumped below expectations every month.
That’s $3.9 million lower than predicted in July, $3.2 million lower in August, $12.5 million lower in September and $14.8 million lower in October.
That’s a cumulative $34 million below official expectations, and getting worse as the fiscal year goes on.
Overall, it’s a 4 percent shortfall.
On Friday, state officials are expected to be more realistic and lower their revenue projections for how much the sales tax, income tax and other sources will bring in during the rest of the fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2016.
In fantasyland, Kansas has no cares in the world.
In reality, the state is close to broke, drowning in red ink created by the failed policies of Sam Brownback and his crew.