States will need more relief for recovery

Kansas now faces a nasty cocktail of policy choices in 2021, including budget cuts and sleight-of-hand budget accounting gimmicks.



January 6, 2021 - 9:21 AM

Even as the latest COVID-19 federal relief/stimulus package was finally signed into law on Dec. 27 after a bizarre cliff-side confrontation triggered by Donald Trump’s ambivalence, the incoming Biden administration was readily acknowledging its inadequacy and promising that additional legislation would be on the table early in 2021. The new package that was approved, valued at just over $900 billion, was significantly watered down from the original HEROES Act approved by the United States House of Representatives in May.

Chris W. Courtwright,
The Kansas Reflector

Although a three-dimensional political chess match over the size of stimulus payments dominated news over the holidays, that was preceded by another significant development in mid-December when a provision to provide a largely unrestricted state and local aid component regrettably was left on the cutting room floor by negotiators — notwithstanding the fact that the Governor’s Council on Tax Reform had formally asked congressional leadership and the Kansas delegation to support its inclusion.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others in the GOP reportedly were so adamantly opposed to this aid that would backfill certain state/local revenues that collapsed because of the pandemic, they had it stricken in exchange for begrudgingly walking away from certain business liability shield provisions they had supported.

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