By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT – Kentucky’s new fiscal year has gotten off to a fairly good start.
State budget director Jane Driskell said Monday the state’s General Fund receipts for July, the first month of fiscal year 2016, rose 4 percent compared to July 2014 receipts.
Receipts in July for the General Fund, which pays for most state programs, were $738.8 million.
The official revenue estimate for this fiscal year calls for revenue to rise 1.0 percent compared to last fiscal year’s actual receipts.
Based on July’s results, General Fund revenues need to increase 0.8 percent for the remainder of the fiscal year to meet the official estimate.
Driskell said, “We are very pleased that the first month of the fiscal year maintained the same momentum that produced $165 million in unbudgeted revenues in fiscal year 2015.
“This month’s sales and use tax collections grew at a higher than expected rate and helped offset declines in other accounts.
“Nevertheless, the sales tax acts as a barometer of current economic conditions, such as consumer sentiment, disposable income, and future prospects of gainful employment. This is a continued sign that the underlying economy is moving in a positive direction.”
Among the major accounts, individual income tax receipts rose 1.1 percent, sales tax revenues grew 8.6 percent, corporation income tax collections rose 48.2 percent, cigarette tax collections jumped 10.6 percent and lottery revenues increased 3 percent.
On the down side, property tax receipts fell 16.8 percent and coal severance tax revenues declined 12.2 percent.
Driskell also announced that Road Fund revenues for July totaled $127.6 million, an increase of 1.8 percent compared to last July.
She noted that the modest growth in receipts was expected.
“A timing issue helped bump up motor vehicle usage tax receipts while motor fuels tax collections declined at the pace we expected,” she said.
The official Road Fund revenue estimate for this new fiscal year calls for revenue to increase 2.1 percent compared to last year’s actual receipts.
Based on the first month’s receipts, revenues must increase 2.1 percent for the rest of the fiscal year to meet budgeted levels.
Among the major Road Fund categories, motor fuels tax receipts fell 13.2 percent, motor vehicle usage tax increased 25.3 percent and license and privilege taxes grew 11.2 percent
The Consensus Forecasting Group, a panel of independent economists, will meet later this month to begin establishing revenue estimates for the next two-year budget that will be approved in the 2016 General Assembly.