News Briefs

State tax revenue tops February estimate, Kelly calls for food sales tax exemption

By: - March 1, 2022 4:30 pm
Gov. Laura Kelly, who is seeking re-election, said state tax revenue in February exceeded estimates and warranted renewed call for the 2022 Legislature to approve a bill eliminating the state's 6.5% sales tax on groceries. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Gov. Laura Kelly, who is seeking re-election, said state tax revenue in February exceeded estimates and warranted renewed call for the 2022 Legislature to approve a bill eliminating the state’s 6.5% sales tax on groceries. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — The half billion dollars in state tax collections during February came in nearly $19 million above bullish estimates revised three months ago to reflect revenue growth.

The Kansas Department of Revenue said the state tabulated $502.5 million in tax revenue last month, which amounted to 3.9% more than anticipated by fiscal analysts. The total was $46 million, or 10.2%, beyond state revenue for February 2021.

“The positive trend in tax receipts continues with all of the major tax types — individual income tax, corporate income tax, retailer’s sales tax and compensating use tax — performing well,” said Mark Burghart, secretary of the state’s revenue department.

The department processed 15,000 more income tax filings and refunded $21 million more in February compared to the same month last year. Overall, the state has issued 281,000 refunds totaling $147 million in the current filing season.

Refunds for electronically filed returns can be expected to be deposited in taxpayers’ bank accounts in 4 days to 7 days, Burghart said.

“We are pleased to be able to get individual income tax refunds paid more quickly and into the accounts of taxpayers,” he said. “But for the larger number of refunds issued in February, individual income tax receipts also would have surpassed the February estimate.”

In February, state individual income tax collections in Kansas were $183.4 million. That was $6.6 million or 3.5% below the monthly estimate. Corporate income tax collections settled at $23.4 million or $12.4 million more than anticipated. The monthly total on corporate income tax was $15.2 million more than in February 2021.

Retail sales tax revenue outperformed predictions by $5.2 million or 2.8% for a monthly total of $195.2 million. That was $16 million, or 8.9%, more in retail sales tax revenue than experienced in February 2021.

Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat seeking re-election in November, said her administration had taken steps to promote fiscal responsibility and restore the state’s economy. She renewed a request that the Republican-led Legislature approve a bill removing grocery purchases from the state’s 6.5% sales tax.

I urge the Legislature to work together to send me a clean bill eliminating the state’s tax on food immediately so that we can put this money back into the pockets of Kansas taxpayers,” Kelly said.

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Tim Carpenter
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.