August 31, 2015
Usually right now you would be reading about how much revenue Kansas brought in during the past month.
Not this time, however.
The Kansas Department of Revenue is moving the release of its monthly revenue report to the first of the month, meaning the numbers will now probably come out sometime Tuesday afternoon. It is a change from the long-standing practice of releasing the report on the last business day of the month.
KDOR first announced the change at the bottom of a news release on its July report. Since then, little else has been said about the change.
“Starting Sept. 1, the revenue receipts will be released the first of each month. This will allow the report to include other types of revenue collected by the state such as interest earnings and provide a more complete picture of the Kansas revenue receipt collections,” the release said.
Currently, the report released by the agency includes 15 different revenue sources, such as corporate income, sales, cigarette and liquor taxes.
Agency spokeswoman Jeannine Koranda said other revenue sources KDOR will begin including in the report include insurance premiums, interest, net transfers, agency earnings, corporate franchise fees and other, miscellaneous revenue.
“In the past, the department has only reported from the state general fund tax revenues receipts it collected but it did not reflect all money collected by the state,” Koranda said. “Including the additional revenue sources will allow a much more thorough look at monthly revenues.”
In the first week of the month, legislative researchers release their own revenue report that typically includes sources of revenue that aren’t part of KDOR’s end-of-the-month report, but will now be part of KDOR’s report. Legislative Research confirmed Monday it will continue to release its own report.
Annie McKay, director of the Kansas Center for Economic Growth, who also is a registered lobbyist, said that if the new report resembles a Legislative Research report, it will offer a more complete view of the state’s general revenue, also known as SGF.
“That being said, the ‘more complete picture’ will include other revenue sources — insurance premiums, interest income, agency earnings — that are a very small percentage of the overall picture and even significant swings upward wouldn’t make up for shortfalls in the primary source of revenue into the SGF (income & sales tax),” McKay said in an email.
The key to the report’s new format, McKay said, will center on how transparent the sources of revenue are, whether they depart the current format or lump sources together in ways that could lead to generalizations or mischaracterizations.
Over the past couple years, the monthly revenue reports have become the subject of intense attention from lawmakers, other policymakers and journalists as they track the progress of Kansas’ tax policy. While any one month’s report is likely not indicative of a trend, several months of reports can show a pattern.
If revenue figures are consistently down month after month, when the consensus revenue estimating group meets to produce its twice-yearly forecast of revenue the state will take in, the new estimate will likely be lower than the previous estimate. The reverse also is true if monthly revenue numbers are trending up.
A review by The Topeka Capital-Journal of monthly revenue reports for calendar years 2013 and 2014 found the reports had overestimated revenue about half the time and underestimated the other half.
The last monthly report, issued at the end of July, said tax revenue fell $3.7 million below expectations. It was also the first report issued during the new fiscal year, which began July 1.
Read more from the Topeka Capital Journal here.