General Fund revenue up 3rd straight year in Ky.


Associated Press

Posted on July 11, 2013 at 8:01 AM

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky ended a third consecutive fiscal year with General Fund revenue growth, continued good news for a state that had seen tax collections plummet during two years of economic recession, a finance official said Wednesday.

Budget Director Jane Driskell reported that collections were up 2.8 percent to more than $9.3 billion for the 12-month period that ended June 30. Collections were some $40 million more than expected.

"We have now closed the books on revenues and will close the books on the expenditure side later this month," Driskell said. "The determination of a budget surplus will be made at that time."

Any surplus could be used only to cover necessary government expenses or to be deposited into the state's Budget Reserve Trust Fund.

Driskell noted that revenue showed "positive growth" in each quarter of the fiscal year.

Individual income tax collections were the largest source of General Fund revenue, exceeding $3.7 billion. That was an increase of nearly $211 million over the previous fiscal year and accounted for 82 percent of the overall budget growth.

Sales tax receipts, which topped $3 billion, were down some $30 million over the previous fiscal year but remained the second largest source of General Fund revenue. Driskell pointed out that the sale tax revenue has fallen only three times since 1980, and warrants examination.

Among other revenue sources that posted positive returns, the corporate income tax generated $400 million, up $26 million from the previous year, and the property tax generated $558 million, up nearly $29 million.

Trouble spots include the coal severance tax revenue, which declined by nearly $68 million to $230 million. Driskell blamed weak coal prices and reduced production for the decline.

The state's cigarette tax collections were reported at less than $239 million, down some $16 million from the previous fiscal year. That decline was attributed to both declining sales and the switch by some smokers to alternative products like roll-your-own tobacco and electronic cigarettes.

Kentucky lawmakers doubled the state's cigarette tax to 60 cents per pack four years ago in hopes of deterring smoking in a state where some 25 percent of residents light up.