State general fund tax collections topped $722 million in April, up from the $710 million expected, the Kansas Department of Revenue said last week.

Since fiscal 2011 began on July 1, revenues total $4.56 billion.

“The numbers show signs of a slowly improving economy,” said Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan.

The department said sales tax collections had lagged, with only $167 million rather than the projected $175 million.

Individual income tax collections were $35 million more than expected at $470 million in April, an increase of 8%. That includes one-time income tax payments totaling $36 million from two unidentified individual taxpayers. Without those, officials said, revenues from the tax also would have been below expectations.

Senate Majority Leader Jay Emler, R-Lindsborg, said the unexpected revenue in April could allow Kansas to complete renovations at the state capitol in Topeka with cash rather than with proceeds from $55 million of revenue bonds contained in the proposed fiscal 2012 budget.

Gov. Sam Brownback said the revenue report was promising but urged legislators to work on balancing the 2012 budget, which will be funded with $6.1 billion of expected general fund revenues.

“Our economy is slowly beginning to turn around, but we need to remain focused on returning fiscal responsibility to our state,” the Republican Brownback said during a news conference.

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