Kentucky Ended Fiscal Year With $46M Surplus

Jul 27, 2012

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Kentucky had a surplus of about $46 million to the 2011-12 fiscal year and officials say revenue trends are looking up for the current two-year budget cycle.

State Budget Director Mary Lassiter told the interim joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue on Thursday that general fund revenues jumped 3.8 percent in the fiscal 2012 year that ended in June.

The Courier-Journal reported that Kentucky collected more than $9 billion in tax revenue last year, up $331.5 million from fiscal 2011. The increase resulted largely from revenue increases from sales taxes and individual and corporate income taxes.

"The good news is that general fund revenues reflect economic recovery," Lassiter said. "We've weathered the recession better than many states. But now we've got ... on the books two closed fiscal years with revenue growth."

Receipts exceeded the state's original estimate by $83.3 million, contributing to a final balance of $90.1 million. But lawmakers budgeted a $44 million carry over that will cut into the balance.

Lassiter said officials will amend the remaining amount into the general fund surplus account for necessary government expenses, which include about a dozen activities ranging from veterans and military affairs to capital construction costs.

Greg Harkenrider, deputy executive director of the Governor's Office of Economic Analysis, also reported that general fund revenue will only need to grow 2.4 percent in fiscal 2013 and 2.3 percent in fiscal 2014 to meet official budget projections.

Officials had originally estimated that receipts would need to grow 3.3 percent this year and 2.8 percent in 2014.

Harkenrider said the numbers were reason for optimism, but said potential setbacks in coal revenues and continued economic uncertainty could change things.

Signs of recovery also were reflected in the state's road fund, which ended the fiscal year with a $50.3 million surplus for deposit in the state construction account. Receipts from fuel and motor vehicle usage taxes helped buoy the fund in 2012.

Harkenrider said only 3.9 percent growth is needed next year instead of the 6.2 percent that officials initially estimated.

Lassiter told committee members that the budget office will forecast more specific figures for the next three quarters next week.