1-time payments boost Kansas revenues in February

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - State officials said Friday that several one-time income tax payments totaling more than $50 million helped boost Kansas revenue collections in February ahead of official estimates.

The Kansas Department of Revenue said that overall revenue collections were $97.6 million more than projected. Individual income taxes were $100.7 million more than anticipated, while corporate tax collections were up $4.8 million.

“We’re very excited that tax receipts continue to exceed estimates,” Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan said in a written statement. “This shows that the Kansas economy is healthy and jobs are continuing to grow.”

Jordan said withholding taxes were also better than the $6.7 million that was collected in February 2013, indicating that more people were working or had received increases in wages.

Officials said Kansas collected $329 million in February, beating estimates for $231.4 million. Kansas has collected $3.62 billion in revenues, compared with the $3.5 billion projected, for the fiscal year that began July 1.

The gains were partially offset by declines from estimates in sales, use, motor carrier and cigarette taxes and fees. Sales taxes missed the estimate by $2.5 million, while use taxes were down $1.9 million.

The increases in corporate income taxes were four times what the state was expecting and represent the third consecutive month that corporate collections had grown.

Gov. Sam Brownback said he was encouraged by the numbers and that they bolstered anecdotal reports of increased business activity in the state, especially new companies forming along the Missouri border.

Brownback engineered passage of income tax cuts in 2012 that eliminated the taxes paid by nearly 200,000 businesses, as well as reducing the rate for individual income tax filers. The cuts were designed to boost economic activity with the goal of eliminating income taxes in the long term.

“The revenue coming in is more than sufficient to cover the governor’s budget recommendations all-day kindergarten, corrections and the regents,” said Eileen Hawley, spokeswoman for the governor.

Critics have argued the cuts would stymie state government’s ability to provide services and lead to cuts in programs.

Democrats also have noted that when the state Department of Labor issued seasonally adjusted figures for nonfarm employment in December, the total was 7,400 lower than in November, a decline of 0.5 percent.

“Sam Brownback says the economy is growing, but Kansans certainly aren’t feeling it,” said Haley Pollock, spokeswoman for House Minority Leader Paul Davis, a Lawrence Democrat who’s running for governor. “State revenue naturally fluctuates from month to month, but all long-term figures indicate that the Brownback tax plan is failing.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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