State budget under the microscope

By

State News

June 19, 2019 - 10:22 AM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas’ tax collections have beaten expectations nearly every month for the past two years and the state expects to end June with close to $1 billion in cash reserves, but the budget problems that followed a former governor’s notorious tax-cutting experiment aren’t necessarily a thing of the past.

The steep income tax cuts that former Republican Gov. Sam Brownback championed to try to stimulate the Kansas economy contributed to persistent and severe budget shortfalls that caused some GOP legislators to rebel and gave the state’s new Democratic governor, Laura Kelly, a potent issue to successfully campaign on last year.

Seeking to keep the budget stable since taking office in January, Kelly twice thwarted efforts by the Republican-controlled Legislature this year to reduce taxes. However, problems have arisen on the spending side of the state’s ledger: The budget that lawmakers eventually approved this year was relatively generous, leaving it unclear how far into the future the new spending can be sustained.

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