Kansas tax collections were more than $30 million short in June, the final month of the fiscal year. That grew the state’s budget deficit to more than $75 million and prompted Governor Sam Brownback’s administration to take steps to erase the shortfall.
Budget Director Shawn Sullivan says it’s difficult to cut budgets at the end of the fiscal year. Instead, the state is moving funds, including delaying part of a payment to school districts. Democratic state Senator Laura Kelly says that’s worked in the past, but moving the payment is risky when tax collections have been so inconsistent.
“The problem now is there’s no guarantee that revenue’s going to come in next fiscal year. We’re just digging the hole deeper as we go forward,” says Kelly.
The governor is also taking money from the state highway fund and other areas of the budget to fill the hole.
Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan says national economic trends are hurting tax collections in Kansas and other states. Kelly says national trends do impact Kansas, but she blames tax cuts passed in recent years for the budget instability.