Kansas tax collections for May exceeded revised estimates by $77.1 million, adding to a state general fund cushion for the fiscal year that ends July 1.
Numbers provided by the Kansas Department of Revenue show individual income tax collections were $278 million in May, about $68 million above estimates and nearly $7 million more than the same month last year. Retail sales and use taxes added to the surplus.
However, corporate income tax collections dropped to $11 million, about $9 million below a forecast that mirrored last year's collections.
Tax receipts through April, when the revenue forecast was revised, were $81.2 million above estimates. The May surplus pushes the general fund balance to $158 million more than expected for the 2019 fiscal year.
Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, said the collections illustrate the burden placed on Kansas taxpayers as a result of Gov. Laura Kelly's vetoes of tax packages passed by the Legislature this session.
“While Laura Kelly may hail this as positive news, in fact it is the opposite for the Kansas taxpayer," Wagle said. "These numbers are the result of an additional tax increase forced on the backs of our Kansas families and businesses due to the governor blocking the implementation of the Trump tax cuts. This is money that belongs in the pockets of Kansas taxpayers.”
The tax plans adopted by the Legislature and rejected by the governor would have provided relief to corporations returning overseas profits and individuals who want to take the standard deduction on the federal tax form while itemizing at the state level.
In a town hall forum Monday in Hays, the Democratic governor said she plans to look at the overall tax structure following the biannual consensus revenue report in October, which should shed more light on the impact of federal tax policy changes.
Kelly said she wants to return to a tax structure that last existed under Republican Gov. Bill Graves, who left office in 2003.
“We are way out of whack right now," Kelly said. "Property taxes are ridiculously high, as is our sales tax and particularly our sales tax on food. We will bring together experts in this area, and we’re going to plot out a plan. It’s not something we can achieve in one year, but we will lay out a long-term plan to move us back toward that structure that worked in Kansas for a very long time."