A faint but steady drumbeat of positive economic news has emerged from state capitals in recent weeks. Tax revenues are inching upward in states that had seen month after month of decline. Indiana and Kansas are the latest examples.
Indiana's March tax revenues came in $2 million more than state budget experts had projected, The Indianapolis Star reports , noting that the new figures reversed 17 months of lower-than-anticipated collections.
In Kansas, tax revenues in March exceeded the state's projection by $14 million, or 3.7 percent, The Associated Press reports . That helped shrink the state's budget deficit for the next fiscal year from $467 million to $433 million.
It's too early to tell whether the new numbers can be called a long-term turnaround, and both states still are struggling fiscally. Kansas is wrestling with the prospect of tax increases and has delayed state aid to public schools. Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the current state budget.
But the new revenue numbers provide what budget directors have characterized as a glimmer of hope — one emerging in other states, too. A report by the U.S. Census Bureau last week found that state and local tax revenues in the fourth quarter of 2009 had risen for the first time since 2008.