Changes in tax revenue calculations mean less information

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – For years, the month revenue estimates have been consistently off target–so far more than $464 million this fiscal year.

Due to that situation, a task force put together by Governor Sam Brownback is suggesting going back to the drawing board.

One solution in the meantime is getting rid of the month estimate report entirely and instead comparing the numbers to prior year. Local economists aren’t so sure of the plan.

“I wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water,” said Jeremy Hill at Wichita State University. “Just saying we’re going to go to a different method of using the previous year is not  gonna make it more accurate. It’s not gonna create more value, it actually could create more risk.”

In addition, Hill says looking at old numbers won’t take into account other variables, the always changing work force in the state, the changes in our economy since we rely so heavily on the rest of the world for how our products will do. Those same variables that make predicting the tax revenue difficult.

“We need to understand we have data that’s coming in and that’s just…there’s just more variability,” Hill said, “there’s more errors to it.”

He adds that the situation is further complicated by our current tax break situation.

“We’ve kind of dealt it to ourselves with changing all these tax structures in a time period where we’re a changing landscape,” he said. “It’s a very difficult time to figure out all the things that are going on at this one point in time.”