By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — After four months of anemic growth, Kentucky’s General Fund revenue increased 4.6 percent in October compared to a year ago, State Budget Director Jane Driskell announced Monday.
Total revenue for the month was $755.7 million, compared to $722.5 million during October 2013.
Receipts have increased 1.9 percent for the first four months of the fiscal year, and need to grow 4.4 percent over the final eight months of this month to achieve the official revenue estimate of $9.8 million.
There is cause for concern but “no reason at this point to panic,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “We will just be carefully monitoring the situation.”
The General Fund, which pays for most state programs, had a solid month after a first quarter in which receipts grew only 1.1 percent, Driskell said.
“October was clearly a strong month of revenue growth as nominal collections grew $33.2 million, an amount higher than the nominal growth in the entire first quarter of fiscal year 2015,” she said.
The main contributions to the healthy growth in October were the individual income tax and sales taxes, which grew 4.8 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively, while corporate and property receipts continued to underperform.
Road Fund receipts for October totaled $126.7 million, a 0.3 percent decrease. They can decline 2 percent over the next eight months and still meet the official yearly estimate of $1.54 billion.
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Motor vehicle usage tax receipts fell 4.3 percent for the month and have declined 1.4 percent so far this year. Motor fuels taxes increased 0.8 percent in October and have grown 1.4 percent for the year.
Driskell said October’s Road Fund performance is not unexpected.
“Road Fund collections continue to be weak, as we anticipated. Growth in motor fuels tax collections is limited by a decline in demand,” she said.
“Motor vehicle usage tax receipts have been hampered by the impact of recent legislation which provides for a new car trade-in. It is anticipated that the credit will reduce collections by $34 million in the current fiscal year.”