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Editorial Commentary: Ken Ciboski

Ciboski: Will Brownback Propose Targeted Spending Cuts?

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Kansas revenue estimates were missed by nearly $45 million for September. Some incumbent Republican legislators are worried that they will be defeated in the coming November election because of the state’s fiscal problems. Democrats see an opportunity to increase their numbers in the legislature. That is why Republican legislative leaders want the governor to act quickly to address fiscal problems. The state’s tax collections have not met revenue projections for 10 of the past 12 months and for 31 of 44 months since the first personal income tax cuts took effect in January 2013.

Kansas Budget Director Shawn Sullivan announced a week ago that Governor Brownback will not include across-the-board reductions in budget proposals presented to the state legislature next January. Will the Governor now change his mind about this? Earlier, Sullivan had asked state agencies to propose how they could meet a 5 percent reduction in state funding. He determined that some proposed cuts would be harmful to a respective agency’s mission and to the citizens who are served.

The state is expected to have a revenue shortfall by the end of the current budget year. If no across-the-board tax cuts remain as a policy, it is more likely that Governor Brownback will propose some targeted spending cuts for fiscal year 2017, which begins next July.