FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Kentucky’s General Fund receipts took a hit in January, falling 3.4 percent compared to a year ago.
Last month’s take of $924.6 million declined modestly compared to the $956.8 million collected in January 2018. Through the first half of the 2019 fiscal year, which ends June 30, the General Fund has grown 2.6 percent.
The official General Fund revenue estimate for FY19 calls for revenue to grow 3.3 percent compared to FY18 actual receipts. After January’s results are considered, General Fund revenues must increase 4.4 percent for the remainder of the fiscal year to meet the official estimate.
While a January reduction in the General Fund was not unexpected, State Budget Director John Chilton noted that the income-based taxes were particularly weak.
“The monthly setback was anticipated in part due to a spike in estimated tax payments made in January of 2018, where taxpayers were adjusting estimated taxes in response to the state and local provisions of the Federal tax reform act in December 2017,” Chilton said. “However, withholding payments fell 8.7 percent as well, pushing the individual income tax down 19.3 percent for the month.”
He said corporation income taxes fell by a larger percentage, 60.7 percent, but the nominal loss was only $8.0 million compared to $82.5 million decrease in the individual income tax collections.
There was some good news, according to Chilton. “Sales and use tax grew by 9.8 percent in January, partially offsetting the income tax losses. This surge in consumption taxes is directly attributable to the expansion of the sales tax base and our ongoing efforts to capture a higher percentage of online sales.”
In other tax receipt categories:
--Cigarette taxes were up 105.0 percent for the month and have grown 71.4 percent for the first seven months of the fiscal year. The revenue increase coincides with the 83.3 percent increase in the cigarette tax from $0.60 per pack to $1.10 per HB 487.
--Property taxes grew 6.3 percent in January and are up 4.0 percent for the year.
--Coal severance tax receipts fell 16.4 percent for the month. Year-to-date collections are down 15.0 percent.
--Lottery revenues were equal to last year’s dividend payment but are up 4.5 percent for the year.
Road Fund receipts grew 2.5 percent in January with collections of $126.3 million. Year-to-date collections have grown 4.0 percent compared to last year’s total. Despite declines in Road Fund revenue in FY15 and FY16, followed by anemic growth in FY17 and FY18, receipts have now risen in nine of the past eleven months.
The official Road Fund revenue estimate calls for a 0.3 percent decrease in receipts for the entire FY19. Based on year-to-date collections, revenues can fall 6.1 percent for the remainder of the fiscal year to meet that estimate.