State reports record-breaking gains in sales, vehicle taxes

Although April state revenue won’t officially be announced until Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear says preliminary data shows the month had record-breaking gains in sales and motor vehicle usage taxes.

According to the governor, sales tax receipts in April were $486.5 million, an all-time monthly high, and 40% higher than last April, when the COVID-19 pandemic began taking hold of the economy. Motor vehicle usage tax receipts hit over $64 million, producing an all-time record for this tax in the road fund.

Beshear calls this, “the fruit of putting politics aside when it came to defeating the coronavirus. It turns out that making decisions based on saving the most lives is also the best way to safeguard our livelihoods and economy. As tough as these past 14 months have been, now is when we begin to reap the rewards of our sacrifices and investments. Now is when we surge to our ultimate victory over COVID and embrace our place as leaders in the post-COVID economy.”

The Office of the State Budget Director predicts that April’s sales tax collections, which reflect March sales, were supported by the $1,400 stimulus checks and February’s severe winter weather and flooding likely delaying some purchases. Sales tax receipts have risen 9.5% for the 10 months of the fiscal year 2021.

“The dramatic increases are not just in comparison to the prior year COVID-suppressed receipts but in comparison to any prior periods in history,” the Governor said.

The money will be added to the current fiscal year general fund, which is estimated to have more than $586 million in surplus and a $12 million surplus in the road fund. The state was already on pace to end the current fiscal year with over a billion dollars in the rainy day fund, the most money ever in a rainy day fund in Kentucky.