State revenue picture grim heading into fiscal 2015

The state's financial picture has been called into question for months, and the latest report from the Department of Revenue has more sobering news.

Compared to estimates, state revenues missed expectations by 5.8 percent or $338 million for all of fiscal 2014. Compared to fiscal 2013, though, collections were short by $726 million or by 12 percent.

Emporia Sen. Jeff Longbine says the state is entering fiscal 2015 with a healthy reserve, which is good news. However...

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If revenues continue to lag behind expectations, Longbine says there will be pressure to either cut spending to match the income or review income tax policy. Emporia Rep. Peggy Mast says lawmakers are poised to act as needed if the current trends continue.

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Emporia Rep. Don Hill says action will be likely, and possibly sooner than later. He says "remedial" action could be needed, and he's looking across the aisle at an option.

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In most cases, the monthly comparison is also painful. Overall revenue was down nearly $42 million compared to 2013 and $28 million short of expected.

Individual income tax receipts were down almost $25 million from earlier projections and were short of the June 2013 mark by over $34 million. The state and several lawmakers say the main reason was a change in capital gains regulations. Critics say the state's push towards zero income taxes is evidencing itself in that number and could get worse.

Sales tax receipts were $1.5 million short of expectations, or less than one percent. The bright spot? Corporate income tax receipts were at nearly $78 million, $2.6 million higher than expected.

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