Politics & Government

Kentucky collected $40.5 million more than expected in fiscal year 2013

FRANKFORT — Kentucky finished the fiscal year that ended June 30 with $40.5 million more than originally expected, according to final revenue numbers released Wednesday.

The state won't have a final tally of how much it spent until later this month, so it's still not known if there is a budget surplus or deficit, said State Budget Director Jane Driskell.

This is the third straight year that Kentucky's General Fund revenue has increased. Taxes and fees collected for the year totaled $9.34 billion, or 2.8 percent more than fiscal year 2012.

Revenue forecasters had projected the state would collect $9.3 billion. Legislators used that forecast to write the state's two-year budget.

Tax collections showed growth in all four fiscal quarters, according to numbers released by the Office of State Budget Director.

Still, some taxes have been unpredictable. Sales taxes, which accounts for 32. 4 percent of overall collections, were down 1 percent from the previous year as fewer people spent money on taxable goods. But income taxes grew 6 percent from 2012. Growth in income taxes accounted for 81 percent of all new growth, officials said.

The state's coffers also got an unexpected windfall from the gambling industry that edged revenue up in June.

The state announced in June that it had received two settlements totaling more than $21 million from lawsuits against online gambling companies. Gov. Steve Beshear has pushed to shut down online gambling websites in Kentucky, saying the organizations siphon money away from the state's racetracks and charitable gambling.

Driskell told lawmakers last month that the state also had unexpected expenses during the year, including more than $20 million extra spent to house prisoners by the Department of Corrections. There were more prisoners in state facilities than expected, Driskell said.

Collections for the state's Road Fund, which is derived from motor fuels and other taxes, came in $8 million below the official estimate. The fund pays for road construction and maintenance.

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