Top state budget staffers are predicting meager revenue growth over the next two years in the General Fund and a slight decline in the Road Fund, largely because of Kentucky's slow rebound from economic recession.
Government financial analyst Greg Harkenrider told a group of Kentucky's top economists on Thursday that collections from the individual income tax, the state's top revenue producer, is projected to rise between 1.6 percent and 4 percent in the next two fiscal years. That would help to offset projected declines in the coal severance tax and the cigarette tax.
Those latest projections were presented Thursday to economists serving on the Consensus Forecasting Group, a panel charged with predicting long-term state government revenues.
The budget outlooks in both Kentucky and Tennessee are healthier than they were this time last year. Kentucky Budget Director Jane Driskell announced Friday that the state’s general fund receipts for the first month of the fiscal year were up two-percent over July of last year.
Tennessee, meanwhile, has ended its budget year with a $42 million budget surplus, fueled partly by a nine-percent increase in the Volunteer State’s corporate tax receipts. Governor Bill Haslam’s office hasn’t said yet what he plans to do with the extra money.
Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator says he’s developing a “Republican alternative” to a Detroit bailout plan.
Speaking on the Glenn Beck radio show, Senator Paul said he is talking with his staff about ways to help economically depressed areas of the country, like Detroit. The Bowling Green Republican said he would like to look at ways to “have some tax forbearance, reduce some taxes, encourage businesses, encourage people to come in and take abandoned property.”
Politico reports Paul is opposed to the idea of borrowing money to bail out the city, but he is suggesting the government should redirect foreign aid sent to countries like Egypt, and instead use it on infrastructure projects in the U.S.
A national poll conducted by Quinnipiac University shows that a majority Democrats believe the federal government should bail out Detroit, but an even larger majority of Americans oppose such a move.
The year-to-year unemployment rate has increased in 88 of Kentucky’s 120 counties. The Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet released figures Thursday comparing each county’s jobless rate from June of 2012 to June of this year.
Overall, the state’s jobless rate rose to 8.9% from 8.6%
Warren County’s jobless rate this June was up .8 of a percent to 8%.
In Daviess County, the unemployment figure increased half-a-percentage point to 7.9%.
Hardin County saw a jobless rate of 8.3% this June, up slightly from last year.
Pulaski County’s unemployment rate stood at 10.1% in June, up 0.7% from last year.
The current jobless figures in those four counties all exceed the national unemployment rate of 7.8%