State revenues continueto fall below projections

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - State tax revenues fell further below projections in January, causing Missouri's budget shortfall to grow an additional $23 million, state officials said Tuesday.

Missouri's revenues are now projected to fall $314 million short of its budget for the 2003 fiscal year that runs through June 30, budget director Linda Luebbering said.

"I don't know if stagnant quite captures it. Dismal is better," Luebbering said. "Revenues are really very bad."

If other non-budgeted spending pressures are included, such as escalating Medicaid health-care costs and several court judgments, Missouri's shortfall could reach nearly $425 million, Luebbering said.

Revenue from state sales taxes and individual income taxes - two of the state's largest sources of income - both declined in January, compared with figures for January 2002. Both also were down for the first seven months of the 2003 fiscal year.

Counting all tax collections and refunds, January's net general revenues were 11.5 percent below those of a year ago. For the first seven months of the fiscal year, the state's net general revenues were nearly 4.4 percent below last year's - a sharp contrast to the 3.1 percent projected growth upon which Missouri's budget was based.

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