The St. Louis region is kicking off what the St. Louis Sports Commission is calling its version of "March Madness." Beginning with the Missouri Valley Conference men's basketball tournament this weekend, the area will host four straight weeks of college sports tournaments.
The region will also host the MVC women's basketball tournament from March 8-11 at The Family Arena, the NCAA Division 1 wrestling championships from March 15-17 and the NCAA Division 1 men's basketball regional on March 23 and 25.
Halfway through Missouri's budget year, state revenues are sluggish.
The state budget office reported Thursday that Missouri's revenue increased 1.2 percent through the first six months of the 2012 fiscal year. Revenues need to grow at about 2.7 percent to meet the mark set by the budget.
Budget Director Linda Luebbering says the revenue report was "concerning." But she noted that the revenue could improve in the second half of the budget year. Missouri budgets take effect July 1.
Missouri officials are predicting a 3.9 increase in state revenue in the next fiscal year.
The so-called consensus estimate of general state revenue for the budget year that begins in July was released Wednesday. The estimate predicts total revenue of roughly $7.6 billion in the 2013 fiscal year.
The estimate is calculated by state and outside experts and agreed to by the governor and key legislators. It's one factor in developing Missouri's next state budget.
Gov. Jay Nixon is scheduled to release his budget proposal in January.
Strong sales tax collections in August helped Missouri's revenues rise more than 4 percent during the first two months of the state's budget year.
Figures released Friday by the state Office of Administration show August sales tax revenues were up 9.6 percent over the same month a year ago. Corporate tax collections also rose while tax refunds fell. That helped offset a slight decline in individual income tax collections and produced a net revenue increase of 6.9 percent for August.
Missouri’s gross revenue collection in July was up by .6 percent as compared to July 2010.
The revenue increase is driven by strong individual income tax collection, which was up 9.3 percent over the same time last year. Sales taxes remain stagnant, according to state budget director Linda Luebbering. She blames low sales tax collection on a stubbornly high unemployment rate.
Missouri tax revenue is higher than last year, but a dip in individual income tax collections last month has prompted some concern.
Eleven months through the current budget year, revenue has increased from last year by 2.7 percent to $6.5 billion. However, the state Office of Administration reported Thursday that individual income tax collections were down 1.4 percent from May 2011 to May 2010.