Brownback Defends Budget Shift from Childhood Money
January 19, 2016

AP) – Gov. Sam Brownback’s office is defending a budget proposal that a child advocate says would make it easier for Kansas to siphon money from early childhood education.
The Topeka Capital-Journal (http://bit.ly/1P3Izc9 ) reports that Brownback unveiled last week a state budget that would shift the entire Children’s Initiatives Fund to the State General Fund in fiscal year 2017.
The governor’s office says the move is meant to increase accountability and consolidate early childhood programs within the Kansas State Department of Education, which education commissioner Randy Watson says sought the change to better coordinate initiatives.
Shannon Cotsoradis, CEO of Kansas Action for Children, said she does not see how the move leads to better coordination.
The governor’s spokeswoman, Eileen Hawley, said existing childhood programs funded by the Children’s Initiatives Fund will be continued to be fully funded.

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 Hits Revenue Mark., 1st Time in Months
December 1, 2015

AP) – Kansas is reporting that it collected nearly $8 million more in taxes than anticipated in November, with both income and sales taxes exceeding expectations.

The state Department of Revenue said Tuesday the state collected $430 million in taxes last month instead of the $422 million projected in a new fiscal forecast issued earlier in the month. The surplus is about 1.9 percent.

Since the current fiscal year began in July, the state has collected $2.24 billion in tax revenues.

It was the first monthly report since the new and more pessimistic forecast for tax collections was issued.

Tax collections had fallen short of expectations the previous eight months.

Kansas has struggled to balance its budget since personal income taxes were dramatically cut in 2012 and 2013 to stimulate the economy

Kansas Revenue Estimates Miss Mark Again
October 2, 2015

(AP) – Kansas collected $31 million less in taxes than anticipated last month, a shortfall that could tighten the state’s budget picture.
The state Department of Revenue reported Thursday that the state took in $534 million in taxes, when its official fiscal forecast projected $565 million. The shortfall was about 5.5 percent.
Tax collections were almost equally as short of expectations in August, but the department attributed that month’s shortfall to larger-than-expected income tax refunds.
Since the fiscal year began in July, tax collections have been $67 million short of expectations, or about 4.7 percent off at about $1.37 billion.
Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan noted that taxes from oil and gas production failed to meet expectations in September because of fallen energy prices. He also said farm income has declined.

Kansas Budget Prediction Misses August Mark
September 1, 2015

(AP) – Kansas collected $30 million less in taxes than anticipated in August, but officials said larger-than-expected income tax refunds were largely the reason.
The state Department of Revenue reported Tuesday that tax collections were about $418 million last month, compared with the official projection of $448 million. The shortfall was 6.8 percent.
Budget director Shawn Sullivan noted during a news conference that the shortfall was offset by budget adjustments he announced last month. When those adjustments are considered, the state’s total revenue shortfall was roughly $6 million.
Department of Revenue officials said the state paid out $22 million more than expected in income tax refunds.
The figure included nearly $14 million to a company receiving a corporate income tax credit for investing in its Kansas facilities. Officials declined to name it.

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