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Good news for state government finances; both General Fund and Road Funds how healthy increases

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

There was good news for state government finances as both the General Fund and Road Fund showed hefty revenue increases last month, compared to a year ago.

The Office of State Budget Director reported Monday that January’s General Fund receipts grew 9.2 percent compared to January of last year, an increase of $85.1 million. Receipts were boosted by the largest ever monthly collection of sales and use tax receipts. Receipts have grown 3.6 percent for the first seven months of fiscal year 2020, which began July 1, 2019.

The official revenue estimate calls for 1.6 percent growth in revenues over FY19 totals.  Collections for the remainder of the year can fall 1.1 percent and still meet the official estimate.

State Budget Director John Hicks noted that General Fund sales tax receipts have now completed the holiday cycle.  He had stated that they expected bump in January sales tax collections and that a more accurate picture of the holiday season is portrayed by combining receipts from November, December, and January.

“The three-month totals show that sales tax receipts increased 6.0 percent, individual income tax receipts increased by 4.1 percent, and total General Fund collections increased by 3.7 percent,” he stated. “These growth rates indicate an acceleration in the pace of collections versus the 1.1 percent growth rate in the first quarter of the fiscal year, suggesting modest growth in the underlying economy. We will continue to monitor the pattern of revenues, but at the current time we are squarely on pace to meet the official estimates rendered by the Consensus Forecasting Group in December.”

He also reported that Road Fund receipts increased 4.2 percent in January to $131.6 million, based on the continued strength of motor vehicle usage tax revenue. Year-to-date collections have increased 1.5 percent. The official Road Fund revenue estimate calls for revenues to grow 0.4 percent for the fiscal year. Based on year-to-date tax collections, revenues can decline 1.0 percent for the remainder of the fiscal year and still hit the official forecast. 

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