June tax revenues do better than estimates in Kansas

June tax collections were up by $135.6 million or 22.3 percent more than estimated, according to figures released Thursday by the Kansas governor’s office.

The state collected $744.4 million in total tax collections in June, according to the Kansas Department of Revenue figures. Compared to June 2019, last month’s collections were down by 4.8 percent.

For fiscal year 2020, total tax collections were up by $163.7 million or 2.4 percent more tan estimated, with collections of $7 billion, a 5.7 percent decrease from last year.

“Kansans have faced many challenges since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak – emotionally, physically, and financially,” Gov. Laura Kelly said in a news release. “While these numbers are encouraging, we must continue to make decisions that will keep our state on sound economic footing as we enter the next fiscal year.”

The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic began to be seen in April as the state was entering its fourth quarter. In addition, tax extensions were announced in March which moves money from FY 2020 to the next fiscal year. Approximately 300,000 individual income tax returns are still to be filed and paid by the July 15, 2020, deadline.

Individual income taxes were 13.2 percent or $41.1 million more than projected with $353.1 million collected. Those numbers are down 9.0 percent compared to the same month last year. Corporate income tax collections in June were $54.7 million; $33.7 million or 160.4 percent more than projected. These collections are down 19.4 percent compared to June of last fiscal year.

Retail sales and compensating use tax collections were both more than projected for the month and more than June of last fiscal year, according to the revenue figures from the Kansas Department of Revenue.

Retail sales tax collections in June were $203.0 million; 21.5 percent or $36.0 million more than estimated. That’s an increase of 1.9 percent over last June.

Compensating use taxes were $43.4 million; $10.4 million or 31.6 percent more than projected and an increase of 6.5 percent over last June. For FY 2020, retail sales tax collections performed 2.3 percent higher than expected with $2.4 billion collected; an increase of 0.7 percent over last fiscal year.

Compensating use taxes for the fiscal year also performed 4.1 percent higher than expected with $479.1 million collected; a 10.9 percent increase from FY 2019.

The local sales tax distributions report for June in Wyandotte County showed a drop of 10.6 percent for June 2020 as compared to June 2019, from $2.036 million in 2019 to $1.818 million in 2020, according to KDOR figures. For fiscal year 2020, there was a 2.6 percent increase in sales tax revenues in Wyandotte County compared to fiscal year 2019.

The May rate, comparing May 2019 to May 2020, was minus 10.2 percent for Wyandotte County.

According to local officials, the sales tax distribution figures for the counties typically run a few months after they were collected.

The sales tax distribution figures are at https://www.ksrevenue.org/prsalesreports.html#city.

Unemployment rate of 14 percent reported in Wyandotte County

Unemployment hit 14 percent in Wyandotte County during May, according to figures released today by the Kansas Department of Labor.

The figure was down from April’s 14.9 percent, KDOL reported. One year ago, in May 2019, unemployment was 3.9 percent, the KDOL reported.

The 14 percent represents 11,133 persons who were unemployed, according to the report.

Wyandotte County had the second highest unemployment rate in Kansas, with Sedgwick County (the Wichita area) reporting 14.7 percent.

In Kansas City, Kansas, the May unemployment rate was 14.1 percent, according to KDOL, representing 10,269 unemployed persons.

The KCK rate was down from 15 percent in April, KDOL reported. In May 2019, one year ago, the unemployment rate was 4 percent in KCK, according to KDOL.

Kansas City, Kansas, had the second highest unemployment rate of the larger cities in Kansas, and Wichita had the highest rate at 15.4 percent with 30,978 persons unemployed.

Overland Park had a 9.4 percent unemployment rate in May 2020, representing 10,300 unemployed persons, according to KDOL figures.

Statewide, Kansas reported an unemployment rate of 10 percent in May, a decrease from 11.9 percent in April. One year ago, in May 2019, the unemployment rate was 3.1 percent.

The state gained more than 24,000 jobs in May compared to April, according to KDOL officials.

“This follows historic job losses seen across the nation in March and April due to COVID-19,” Kansas Labor Secretary Delia Garcia said.

Seventeen percent of the jobs lost in March and April were gained back in May, according to state economists.

Sidewalk cafes, outdoor retail space now can open in Wyandotte County

Because of COVID-19, some of the rules governing restaurants and retail stores have been loosened to allow sidewalk cafes and retail space.

The Unified Government Commission approved the rules on June 4 and they went into effect on June 11, after publication.

The ordinance and resolution allows some businesses to use public rights-of-way as additional space to do business.

Businesses that are listed can offer outdoor sales on sidewalks, yards, in surplus off-street parking and in parklets, with certain restrictions. The “parklets” are parking spaces that temporarily can be turned into a sidewalk extension in order to provide more amenities and space for people using the street.

The ordinance temporarily will suspend enforcement of certain sections of existing Unified Government code of ordinances in order to provide Wyandotte County businesses trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic more space in which to operate in accordance with guidelines asking them to provide adequate room for proper social distancing between staff and customers.

“Recognizing Wyandotte County businesses would need assistance and flexibility as they worked to get their operations back up and running, I previously directed UG staff to identify opportunities and areas in which we might be able to help and support in that recovery process,” Mayor David Alvey stated. “This new ordinance allows businesses to temporarily create added outdoor space for retail customer sales, utilizing sidewalks, parking lot spaces, and other areas to sell their products and serve their customers, while still maintaining proper social distancing guidelines. It’s a win-win situation for residents and business owners, and a common sense approach to governing in these unique and unprecedented times.”

“In essence, the ordinance effectively legalizes sidewalk cafes, open-air markets and other retail spaces in what are normally public rights-of-way,” said Gunnar Hand, UG director of urban planning. “These common areas are the most valuable and widely used public open spaces in our community. The ordinance is a dramatic statement that allows this space to create a safer, more dynamic, and supportive environment for businesses.”

The Ordinance goes effect on June 11 and lasts until 11:50 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2020. It allows businesses within Wyandotte County to temporarily use the public right-of-way for the sale of goods as long appropriate access to services can be provided under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and that social distancing is maintained. This means maintaining a distance of at least six feet between workers, customers, and others while in public.

Businesses allowed to provide service within the public right-of-way include:

• Bars and restaurants
• Traditional retail
• Arts and crafts
• Book stores
• Jewelry stores
• Offices
• Nonprofit organizations

Businesses not covered by the ordinance include those providing any type of repair service, or any sales of appliances, electronics, or machinery.

Businesses providing alcohol sales are required to go through the normal Kansas Alcohol Beverage Control approvals process. Failing to do so will trigger an automatic review.

Other restrictions apply to businesses taking advantage of the terms of the ordinance, including:
• All temporary parklets and other temporary structures used for outdoor sales such as pop-up tents will only be allowed during regular business hours.
• Any items (such as merchandise, tables, chairs, etc.) brought into the public right-of-way are required to be stored in the associated business each night.

Unified Government Health officials caution that it’s important to continue to take precautions against the spread of COVID-19.

“COVID-19 remains a threat in our community,” said Dr. Allen Greiner, chief medical officer with the Unified Government Health Department. “While it’s exciting to see our businesses reopening, everyone needs to continue to practice safe social distancing, wear a mask when in public, stay home and seek testing if you are sick, and continue with excellent hygiene such as washing your hands frequently with soap and water, covering your cough and not touching your face with your hands. It’s the combination of these actions that has been most effective at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

Residents or business owners with questions about this change may contact 3-1-1.

The ordinance and resolution are online at wycokck.org/Clerk/Agendas for “Special Session 6/4/20” under the “Agendas and Minutes” section. 

  • Information from Unified Government