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State revenues up in September; sales tax fuels growth

October 10, 2011 | | Comments Comments

By Beth Musgrave
bmusgrave@herald-leader.com

FRANKFORT — Kentucky’s revenues rebounded in September thanks in large part to better-than-expected sales tax growth, according to new figures released Monday.

The Office of the State Budget Director said the state’s receipts — taxes and fees — increased 10 percent from September 2010. The increase from $763 million in 2010 to $840 million in 2011 was largely fueled by a 13 percent jump in sales tax revenues, state figures show.

That’s good news after August’s revenue receipts were down after 15 months of growth. Many economists and state leaders were worried that Kentucky’s still-fragile economic recovery was softening.

Mary Lassiter, the state budget director, said in a news release Monday that other states also have seen jumps in revenue growth in September.

“Indiana, West Virginia, North Carolina and Arkansas all completed the first fiscal quarters with significant revenue growth,” Lassiter said.

The Consensus Forecasting Group — a group of independent economists — will meet Friday to begin calculating revenue estimates for the next two years. State legislators use those numbers to write Kentucky’s two-year budget when the General Assembly returns to Frankfort in January.

In September, the group of economists was leaning toward a more pessimistic view of the state’s revenue forecast, in part due to August’s gloomy receipts.

Lassiter noted that even though the state’s finances appear more volatile, revenues for this fiscal year only have to increase by 0.2 percent for the remainder of the year to meet this year’s revenue projection. The fiscal year ends June 30th.

Another bright spot was corporate income taxes, which grew by 27 percent in September and have grown 31.8 percent in the first three months of this fiscal year. Economists noted that Kentucky businesses remain profitable during tough times.

Road Fund receipts also grew 5.9 percent in September, the 15th consecutive month of growth, state officials said.

Filed Under: State Budget

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