A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

General Fund receipts up 7.1 percent; road fund receipts up 7.4 percent for November, budget director reports

State Budget Director John Chilton has reported that General Fund receipts rose 7.1 percent in November with revenues of $972.6 million. November’s receipts compare favorably to the $907.8 million collected in November 2017. Through the five months of the fiscal year (FY19), the General Fund has grown 4.8 percent. 

The official General Fund revenue estimate for FY19 calls for revenue to grow 3.3 percent compared to FY18 actual receipts. 

Based on November’s results, General Fund revenues must increase 2.3 percent for the remainder of the fiscal year to meet the official estimate. 

Chilton reiterated that November General Fund collections continue to follow the pattern predicted by the tax reform of 2018 but at a slightly more robust pace. 

“Sales and gross receipts taxes grew by 17.3 percent in November, the largest such increase since August, 2018. The gains in these consumption taxes were primarily attributable to a 104.1 percent increase in cigarette taxes and a 13.3 percent spike in the sales and use tax. The gains in the cigarette tax are particularly surprising since the tax rate increase in HB 487 from 60 cents per pack to $1.10 per pack, a 83.3 percent increase in rate. So far, the increase in rate has not seemed to meaningfully decrease the consumption of cigarettes.  

Meanwhile, the income taxes have fallen predictably due to the rate reductions in the 2018 tax legislation. November receipts were no exception, showing a 0.5 percent decline in combined income-based taxation. Taken in the aggregate, November’s General Fund increase of 7.1 percent provides a slight buffer against an anticipated slowdown in receipts in the upcoming fiscal quarters.”

Among the major General Fund accounts:

• Individual income taxes fell 1.0 percent in November as a 0.8 percent increase in withholding was overtaken by losses in net returns and estimated tax payments. Year-to-date collections are down 0.8 percent.  Earlier this year, the top corporate and individual income tax rates were decreased from 6.0 percent to 5.0 percent.  Thus, a larger decrease in income tax revenue would result, were it not for increased employment earnings.
• Sales tax revenues grew 13.3 percent in November, partially attributable to the October 1st implementation of sales tax collections on internet sales made possible by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Wayfair decision. Sales tax collections have increased 8.2 percent in the first five months of the year, roughly congruous with the projections for FY19. 
• Corporation income tax receipts increased $6.0 million in November and have now increased 2.0 percent so far in FY19.
• Cigarette taxes are up 104.1 percent for the month and have grown 73.3 percent for the first five months of the fiscal year. The increase coincides with the July 1 83.3 percent increase in the cigarette tax from $0.60 per pack to $1.10 per HB 487.
• Property taxes grew 1.3 percent in November and are up 2.2 percent for the year.
• Coal severance tax receipts fell 5.9 percent for the month. Year-to-date collections are down 16.2 percent.
• Lottery revenues increased 17.4 percent in November and are up 5.9 percent for the year.

Road Fund receipts grew 7.4 percent in November with collections of $133.2 million. Year-to-date collections have grown 4.5 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 seven of the past nine months. The official Road Fund revenue estimate calls for a 0.3 percent decrease in receipts for the entire fiscal year (FY19). Based on year-to-date collections, revenues can fall 3.7 percent for the remainder of the fiscal year to meet that estimate.
 
Among the Road Fund accounts:

• Motor fuels receipts climbed 7.3 percent in November and 1.9 percent for the year.
• Motor vehicle usage collections rose 3.1 percent for the month. Year-to-date collections are up 5.6 percent.
• License and privilege taxes built on a strong October by posting a 14.4 percent increase in the month of November. For the first four months of the fiscal year, receipts are up 8.0 percent.
• Nontax receipts fell 19.0 percent in November but have grown 28.7 percent for the year.

Additional information is available here at this website.

Office of State Budget Director

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