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Kansas Budget Deficit Could Spur Action on Taxes

Photo by Stephen Koranda
Photo by Stephen Koranda

Kansas lawmakers will return to Topeka Wednesday after a nearly month-long break. They’re coming back for the last part of the session after new revenue predictions sharply lowered how much money the state has to spend. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, lawmakers will be considering ways to fill a budget deficit of more than $400 million for the coming fiscal year.

Lawmakers could take several different angles. They could consider undoing some of the Kansas income tax cuts passed in recent years. They’ll also be considering taxes on tobacco and alcohol.

Fort Hays State University Political Science Professor Chapman Rackaway says that variety raises a challenge.

“There are pockets, cadres, of folks that fit into each one of those camps and that might not be enough to be able to build consensus,” says Rackaway.

Rackaway says concern from back in their districts over the budget issues might lead some lawmakers to compromise.

“As a legislator, you can’t go to a town hall back in your constituency and not see that people have great, great trepidation about this,” says Rackaway.

But another group of lawmakers will be pushing for additional budget cuts instead of increasing any taxes.


Kansas lawmakers return to the Statehouse Wednesday with bleak new budget predictions in hand and taxes on their minds. The state’s budget deficit for the coming fiscal year is more than $400 million. Fort Hays State University Political Science Professor Chapman Rackaway says lawmakers have multiple options. Those could include reversing some of the tax cuts approved in recent years, or even raising taxes. Rackaway says there are factions in the Legislature that will oppose each plan, but the extra pressure from the budget shortfall may spur action. 

“That may force some people to coalesce around what they see as a less-than-optimal solution,” says Rackaway.


Rackaway says there are lawmakers who will push for additional budget cuts instead of increasing any taxes.   


Stephen Koranda is KPR's Statehouse reporter.