Legislators told to expect less tax revenues for fiscal 2014

Are tighter budgets in the state's future?

State lawmakers got a revised estimate Wednesday from economic analysts projecting revenues for the rest of this fiscal year ending in June and the next fiscal year starting in July.

Analysts predict the state will collect $5.85 billion in tax revenues for the current fiscal year, down half-a-percent from the April estimate and down over 7.5 percent from what the state collected in fiscal 2013.

Interim budget director John Hummel says the report is actually good news, saying he wasn't surprised and the economy hasn't completely recovered from the Great Recession, but critics say the state will have to cut spending to education at all levels and other "essential" services.

The slide in tax revenues follows massive income tax cuts that began in January. Lawmakers are split on whether those cuts will result in a growth of business numbers and thus lead to increased revenues in other tax categories or whether other tax revenues won't be able to overcome the increasingly lower income taxes as Kansas moves toward eliminating that tax revenue stream altogether.

Wednesday's report came on the same day lawmakers met to discuss possible changes to the state's education funding method. Even before the trimmed revenue estimate, lawmakers were planning to spend a lot of time on education funding in large part because of a pending lawsuit before the Kansas Supreme Court. A decision is expected within the next two months.

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