Brownback Offers Plan to Fill a $190 Million Hole
January 13, 2016

AP) — Kansas can patch the $190 million hole in its next state budget by juggling state funds, capturing unexpected savings and selling off the assets of an economic development agency, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback told lawmakers Wednesday.

Brownback’s proposed changes in the $16 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 avoid cutting aid to public schools. But his recommendations did not include pay raises for corrections officers at state prisons or a plan to help the Kansas Highway Patrol fill vacant trooper positions — ideas that have bipartisan support.

The state has struggled to balance its budget since Brownback successfully pushed the GOP-dominated Legislature to slash personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013 in an effort to stimulate the economy. His critics contend his tax-cutting experiment has failed while Brownback and his allies say national economic factors — including slumps in agriculture, aviation and energy production — are keeping Kansas from growing as much as hoped.

“With these challenges, we must continue to hold the line on state government expenditures while protecting core state services,” Brownback told lawmakers in a letter accompanying his proposals.

The state faced a larger budget hole last year and Republican lawmakers increased sales and cigarette taxes so they could preserve most of the income tax cuts championed by Brownback. He ruled out additional tax increases this year.

Brownback’s administration projects that his proposals would leave the state with cash reserves of $88 million at the end of June 2017. When budget director Shawn Sullivan presented the recommendations to a joint meeting of the House Appropriations and Senate Ways and Means committees, some members questioned whether the state can meet its revenue projections.

Kansas Lawmakers Send Brownback Tax Hike Package to Fill budget Hole
June 12, 2015

Kansas legislators have approved increases in sales and cigarette taxes to erase a budget deficit and avert deep spending cuts.

The Senate voted 21-19 Friday to approve a bill raising the sales tax to 6.5 percent from 6.15 percent. The House passed it 63-45 early Friday morning, and it goes next to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

The GOP-dominated Legislature also is sending Brownback a companion bill to increase the cigarette tax by 50 cents a pack to $1.29. The House passed it 63-44 early Friday, after the Senate’s approval Sunday.

The two bills together raise $384 million during the fiscal year that begins July 1 to balance the budget.

The state’s budget problems arose after lawmakers slashed income taxes in 2012 and 2013 at Brownback’s urging to stimulate the economy.

Republican leaders in the GOP-dominated chamber didn’t know going into Friday’s debate whether they had the 21 votes in the 40-member chamber to pass it.

The bill would increase the sales tax to 6.5 percent from 6.15 percent. It and a companion measure already approved by the Senate together would raise $384 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Lawmakers have approved a budget for the next fiscal year, but it doesn’t balance without the tax increases. The state’s budget problems arose after lawmakers slashed income taxes in 2012 and 2013 at Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s urging to help stimulate the economy.

The other bill would increase the state’s cigarette tax by 50 cents a pack to $1.29. Both chambers have approved it, but the House was using a procedural move to keep it from going to Brownback until it saw what the Senate did with the first measure.

Kansas Revenue Fall Short Again in Janauary
January 30, 2015

(AP) – Kansas says its tax collections fell $47 million short of expectations this month.

The worse-than-anticipated collections are likely to complicate efforts by Gov. Sam Brownback and legislators to eliminate projected budget shortfalls.

The state Department of Revenue reported Friday that the state collected $513 million in taxes in January when it had anticipated taking in $560 million. The shortfall is 8.4 percent.

The state’s tax collections since the start of the current fiscal year in July were $59 million short of expectations, or 1.8 percent. The state anticipated collecting $3.3 billion during the period and took in about $3.2 billion.

The state faces projected budget deficits totaling more than $710 million for the current and next fiscal years, but the figures are pegged to revenue estimates made in November