WICHITA, Kansas – State revenue officials say they will receive more revenue than they had anticipated.
The state is on track to collect an extra $177.6 million more than it had estimated for this year and next. It is expected to collect about $6 billion this year, and about the same amount next year.
“Consensus revenues are actually quite good,” Eileen Hawley, spokesperson for Gov. Sam Brownback, told KSN. “We’re very pleased with what we’re seeing and think it’s indicative of a growing economy here in Kansas.”
State budget officials also say spending is down this year, due to streamlining at KanCare.
“It’s taken three large companies that do Medicaid programs all across America, brought them into Kansas, and they know these programs, so they’re much more efficient than the state government,” said state Sen. Michael O’Donnell, (R) – Wichita and part of the state committee that oversees KanCare.
Overall, revenue is still down about six percent compared to last year, due to the income tax cuts Gov. Brownback signed into law. Democrats say that is bad for the state.
“We’re going into the savings account this year for the first time in awhile, and we’re going to spend more money than we take in,” state Rep. Jim Ward, (D) – Wichita, said. “So no, it’s not celebration time. It’s better than negative numbers, but it could be a lot better.”
State officials say the projections should allow the state to avoid a shortfall for the next two years. The numbers will help guide the upcoming budget revisions when lawmakers return to Topeka on April 30.
“We’re optimistic that companies are hiring, that our unemployment is going down and we’re going to be generating more money with having less income tax,” O’Donnell said.
The state says a little more than 40 percent of the state’s revenue comes from personal income taxes, with another 40 percent coming from sales tax receipts.