UPDATE: State revenue collections continue to fall

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 | 5:17 p.m. CST; updated 8:08 a.m. CST, Thursday, November 5, 2009

* CORRECTION: There was a drop of $260 million in state collections this fiscal year, compared with the same period last year. An earlier version of this story included a smaller amount of decline.

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri's historically low tax collections fell even further in October.

So far, revenue collections for this fiscal year have declined by almost 11 percent compared to the first four months of fiscal year 2009, according to the October general revenue report. 

Gov. Jay Nixon cut $204 million from the state's budget last week. The cuts were based on an expected 4 percent decline in revenue for the fiscal year 2010, which ends June 30, 2010, State Budget Director Linda Luebbering said. 

In October, Luebbering said revenue numbers are expected to improve in January or February, a year after revenue collections began to see the impact from the economic downturn.

With improvement possibly beginning in January or February, the governor's office is expecting the annual decline in revenue to rise to 4 percent, negating the need for additional budget cuts.

House Budget Chairman, Rep. Allen Icet, R-St. Louis County, described the governor's projection as "optimistic."

"I certainly hope I'm wrong, but I don't see any sort of significant recovery on the horizon," Icet said.

Higher than expected sales during the Christmas season could provide enough sales tax revenue to improve budget projections, Icet said, but he doesn't expect that the "Christmas selling season will be a blockbuster."

The state collected $2.15 billion this fiscal year, a drop of $260 million* compared with the same period last year. For the month of October, revenue collection was down 14 percent compared with October last year. 

While Luebbering said some of the decline can be attributed to a difference in when sales taxes are collected, she added that 14 percent is still bad.

Because one of the sales tax collection dates falling on a weekend, some sales tax revenue will not be collected until November.

But Luebbering said she doesn't expect overall collections to increase in November.

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