Revenue shortfall throws wrench in budget talks


State News

February 4, 2019 - 9:56 AM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas collected $49 million less in taxes than expected in January, giving Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and the Republican-controlled Legislature a dose of bad news Friday at the start of debates over education funding and tax relief.

Kelly’s top revenue official and a GOP legislative leader were quick to say a single month of disappointing tax collections is not yet a trend. But it broke a streak of 19 consecutive months of better-than-anticipated collections — the longest since at least July 1966 — leading Kelly to declare extra funds for public schools were “in the bank” as Republicans promoted income tax relief.

Kelly already has urged GOP legislators to wait at least a year to consider tax legislation and said Friday that the state must be cautious. But House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins, a conservative Wichita Republican, said the lower-than-expected tax collections raise questions about Kelly’s budget proposals.

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