DALLAS – Kansas started its fiscal year with revenue coming in $12.8 million below its July forecast, according to state Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan.
The shortfall continues a trend in the previous fiscal year ended June 30 that factored into a downgrade from S&P Global Ratings. S&P lowered the state one notch to AA-minus on July 26, returning the outlook to stable.
Moody's Investors Service still has a negative outlook on its Aa2 rating for the state.
Jordan said the state missed its forecast primarily due to sales tax receipts falling 5.3% or $10.8 million below expectations. Corporate income tax revenues also fell 39% or $5.9 million below forecast. However, individual income tax revenue slightly exceeded expectations.
"We are pleased to start the new fiscal year with positive individual income tax growth, but concerned with the continued weak corporate tax receipts, which many states in our region are experiencing," Jordan said in a prepared statement. "Sales tax receipts remain weak in counties with significant agriculture and oil economies."
Democrats blame Gov. Sam Brownback's tax cuts for the falling revenues, saying the Republican governor's economic "experiment" had failed. Brownback promoted the tax cuts as a way to stimulate the state's economy, signing them into law in 2012.
As falling revenues have forced cuts in state transportation and services, Brownback has blamed the problem on a weak national economy.
Kansas recorded two consecutive quarters of falling economic output in 2015, which on a national level would signal a recession.
Former state budget director Duane Goosen said the revenue problem began before the economic downturn.
"We lost over $726 million in revenue from the tax cuts alone between 2012 and 2014, when the tax policy took full effect," Goosen wrote in a recent blog post for the Kansas Center for Economic Growth. "This was almost a full year before Kansas had a 'recession' to round out 2015.
"If tax cuts were the key to economic success, why did our economy shrink for half of 2015?" Goosen wrote.