State revenue worries

Kentucky's General Fund receipts in April were down 12.1 percent compared to April 2008. Road Fund receipts declined by 4.2 percent.

But even more troubling news about how hard the current recession is hitting the state can be found in a couple of the details. Corporate income tax receipts are down 36.6 percent for this fiscal year. That's right, more than one-third. And individual income taxes collected in April were down 23.7 percent from a year ago.

On the national level, we are starting to hear some talk that the recession may have bottomed out or soon will bottom out. But the April receipts suggest that, as is often the case, Kentucky may once again be lagging behind the national trend.

These April receipts also suggest that, although some lawmakers with summer vacation plans might prefer a September special session, the state's dire financial straits may not allow such a delay in dealing with the anticpated revenue shortfall in next year's budget.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo quickly issued the following statement: "Today's budget numbers are no surprise, but they are further proof that the next fiscal year is going to be the toughest one we've faced in decades. While we're exploring all options, we want to make it clear that in this economy, now is not the time to raise taxes on Kentucky families. There are other ways to raise revenue. Our goal remains to continue protecting K-12 education and human services from drastic reductions."

Other ways to generate revenue besides raising taxes? Wonder what they could be? Oh, yeah, that little bill Stumbo sponsored in the regular session that would allow slots at Kentucky's racetracks.

Respond to Larry Dale Keeling on Kentucky.com.