Kentucky revenues up 6.9 percent in December

FRANKFORT — Fueled by strong corporate and personal income taxes, the state's revenues increased 6.9 percent in December compared with December 2010.

Total revenues for December were $901.4 million, up $57.8 million from the previous December, according to the Office of the State Budget Director.

Kentucky's revenue forecasters have predicted 2.8 percent growth this fiscal year. Receipts have increased 3.1 percent for the first six months of the fiscal year, which began June 30, 2011. That means revenues need to grow about 2.6 percent the remaining six months of this fiscal year to meet the revenue estimate.

Sales tax and other use taxes were the same from the previous year, but corporate income taxes grew by $50 million. Year to date, corporate income taxes are up 48 percent.

Individual income taxes rose 5.1 percent, according to figures released Tuesday.

State Budget Director Mary Lassiter said December's receipts were in line with what the state's revenue forecasters had predicted in December, which was modest growth for the next two years.

"Overall revenue performance was very much in line with the projections made by the Consensus Forecasting Group in December," Lassiter said in a written news release. "We are cautiously optimistic that the modest improvement in economic conditions will continue as predicted by the revenue forecasters."

Legislators returned to Frankfort last week to begin the difficult task of crafting the state's next two-year budget. Although revenues have increased over the past year, the state's obligations continue to mount. Lassiter and Gov. Steve Beshear have warned that the two-year budget could be the most austere in years — with 7 to 9 percent across-the-board cuts likely.

Receipts for the Road Fund, which pays for transportation projects, continued their upward trend in December, increasing 13.3 percent over the previous December.