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Economy

Kansas Tax Collections Fall $45M Short Of Mark In September

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Stephen Koranda
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KPR/File Photo

Updated at 4:00 p.m:

Kansas tax collections came in more than $40 million short of estimates in September. That grows the budget deficit for the current fiscal year to around $60 million.

Kansas Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan said in a statement that the sagging agriculture industry, along with the oil and gas sectors, are driving down sales tax receipts. He said weak corporate income and sales tax collections follow a regional trend. Jordan also notes a bright spot: a jump in withholding taxes he says shows there are either more jobs or workers making more money.

Democratic Sen. Laura Kelly suspects the new numbers will mean further budget cuts. She blames tax cuts for creating financial problems.

“Our schools are getting hurt, higher education is getting hurt. Obviously, our roads are having projects delayed. This just means more pain,” Kelly says.

Before the bleak revenue numbers came out, House Budget Committee chairman Ron Ryckman sent an email to colleagues trying to put a good face on the budget.

In the email, Ryckman, from Olathe, said lawmakers are facing what he called “challenging times.”

But Ryckman said that lawmakers have laid the ground to improve the state’s fiscal outlook. He said the returns will not be immediate but, he said, hope is on the horizon.

Rep. Stephanie Clayton, a moderate Republican from Overland Park, says the only good news on the horizon is a lot of new faces coming to the Legislature in January.

And there are, she insists, no short-term fixes.

“This is a terrible mess and it takes a very long time to clean up a terrible mess," she says.

Over the last year, Kansas has missed the monthly tax estimates 10 times and beat the projections twice. Tax collections have fallen short 32 of the 45 months since income tax cuts pushed through by Gov. Sam Brownback took effect.