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Some Kansas Lawmakers Skeptical of Promise to Pay Back Investment Fund

Members of the House Appropriations Committee listen to a presentation on the budget plan. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

Lawmakers in the Kansas House are considering Governor Sam Brownback’s plan to help fill a budget hole by dissolving a state investment fund holding more than $300 million. The proposal would pay back the money over seven years, but some legislators are skeptical they will make the payments.

Democratic Representative Tom Burroughs says they delayed a payment to KPERS, the state pension plan, with the promise to pay it back. So far, that hasn’t happened.

“Unfortunately, they  don’t have the revenue, so it’s a broken promise. Here we are again, promising to pay this back, setting up a pay schedule. I believe it’s time we hold to our commitments,” says Burroughs.
 
Republican Troy Waymaster, who chairs the Appropriations Committee, says he understands the concern. He says if they pursue this plan, they should pay it back.

“I would look at this a little bit differently. This is an internal loan within the state of Kansas that we have to pay back, and we have the intent to pay back so we can build that investment fund back up,” says Waymaster.

The investment pool holds idle funds as a way to earn interest for the state on money that isn't being used.

Dissolving the investment fund would help the state avoid budget cuts when closing a deficit in the current fiscal year. Members of the committee could vote on a spending plan in the next couple weeks.

Representative Tom Burroughs on the chances of paying back the fund.

Representative Troy Waymaster on how they should pay back the fund if they use it.

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