Kansas tax revenue surpasses projections by $65M in December

    Gov. Laura Kelly said access to the Kansas Capitol will be limited and state workers at three office buildings near the Capitol will be asked to work remotely Tuesday and Wednesday. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)
    Gov. Laura Kelly said access to the Kansas Capitol will be limited and state workers at three office buildings near the Capitol will be asked to work remotely Tuesday and Wednesday. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

    TOPEKA — Kansas revenue from taxes on individual and corporate income as well as from retail sales surpassed expectations of state fiscal analysts in December, officials said Monday.

    Corporate income tax collections during the month exceeded projections by $39 million or 65%, which fueled an influx of cash at the Kansas Department of Revenue that was $65 million or 10.4% beyond what the Kansas Legislature and Gov. Laura Kelly thought likely in the final month of 2020. Modest gains in retail, compensating use, individual income, cigarette and severance taxes helped the revenue picture.

    Kelly is preparing to present a new state budget plan to the 2021 Legislature as the House and Senate convene Jan. 11 at the Capitol. The state’s decision to spend down cash reserves in the past year and influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on business activity won’t be fully known for months.

    “While it appears that receipts are relatively stable, we must continue to be prudent and exercise caution as we move forward,” Kelly said. “Additionally, we are still determining the full impact that the recent federal COVID-19 relief package will have on state receipts.”

    Corporate income tax collections in Kansas were $99.2 million last month and $8.5 million more than in December 2019. Individual income tax collections were $306 million in December for an increase of 2.2% or $6.7 million above revenue projections. However, individual income tax collections in Kansas were $9.5 million or 3% less than December 2019.

    In terms of retail sales tax, the state took in $201 million during December. That was $6.9 million or 3.6% beyond the monthly estimate. It was 0.5%, or about $1 million, more than the same month during 2019. Compensating use tax collections grew to $52 million in December, which was an increase of $7.1 million or 15.9% more than estimated.

    Mark Burghart, secretary of the Kansas revenue department, said impact of COVID-19 would be more fully appreciated as the state moved into the period in which people filed their 2020 tax returns.

    “With the 2020 tax filing season starting this month,” he said, “we will get a clearer picture of the economic implications the COVID-19 pandemic has presented over the last 10 months and how to address those issues.”

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    Tim Carpenter
    Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International. He has been recognized for investigative reporting on Kansas government and politics. He won the Kansas Press Association's Victor Murdock Award six times. The William Allen White Foundation honored him four times with its Burton Marvin News Enterprise Award. The Kansas City Press Club twice presented him its Journalist of the Year Award and more recently its Lifetime Achievement Award. He earned an agriculture degree at Kansas State University and grew up on a small dairy and beef cattle farm in Missouri. He is an amateur woodworker and drives Studebaker cars.