DALLAS — Kansas state tax receipts in November failed to meet forecasters’ projections by a slim margin, but still posted a significant gain over year-ago collections.

Preliminary figures indicate general fund collections totaled $384 million, according to the Kansas Department of Revenue. That’s about $30 million, or 8.5% more than November 2009.

Total collections last month fell 0.2% below the most recent official forecast from the Consensus Estimating Group, or about $783,000. The revenue report is the first issued by the group since it revised its outlooks for fiscal 2011 and 2012 in November.

The latest estimate by the forecasting group of state budget experts and university economists call for general fund collections of $5.79 billion in the current fiscal year. General fund collections have totaled $2.15 billion since fiscal 2011 began July 1 — almost $800,000 less than expected.

An increase in the state sales tax to 6.3% from 5.3% took effect on July 1. It helped boost the revenue source to $153.1 million in November, up 16% from a year ago.

The Revenue Department said the 16% increase in sales tax collections last month, coupled with the sales tax hike of almost 20% in July, may indicate November 2010 activity has actually declined from the previous year by an adjusted 2.4%.

If that’s the case, sales tax collections over the final seven months of fiscal 2011 would have to go up 25% over fiscal 2010 monthly totals to compensate for the decline in purchase activity and meet the revenue group’s estimate of $2 billion of retail sales-tax revenue in fiscal 2011 and $280 million in use-tax revenue.

Incoming Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has rejected a proposal by Rep. Owen Donohoe, R-Shawnee, to repeal the sales tax increase.

However, Sen. Dick Kelsey, R-Goddard, said he would propose a package of tax cuts that would reduce revenues by $600 million a year.

During his successful campaign, Brownback said he would freeze state spending at current levels if revenues were insufficient.

Individual income-tax collections totaled $186.3 million in November, 3.2% more than in November 2009 and $432,000 more than expected in the revised official estimate.

The Kansas Department of Labor said last week that the unemployment rate in the state was unchanged in October from a year ago at 6.4%.

However, that jobless rate represents an incremental improvement from the 6.7% rates posted in August and September. The department said 1.1 Kansas million residents were employed by the private sector and 269,000 by the public sector.

State general fund expenditures in 2012 are estimated at $6.2 billion, based on current spending levels, scheduled increases in Medicaid and other social programs, and an expected $60 million revenue shortfall by the end of fiscal 2011.

The Kansas Legislature will convene Jan. 10 to begin developing the state budget for fiscal 2012. The 2011 Legislature will have 92 Republicans in the 125-member House and 31 Republicans in the 40-seat Senate.

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