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Government

Some Kansas Lawmakers Skeptical of Promise To Pay Back Investment Fund

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Stephen Koranda
/
KPR
Members of the House Appropriations Committee listen to a presentation on the budget plan.

Lawmakers in the Kansas House are considering Gov. 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 Rep. 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,” Burroughs says.

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," he says. "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 that we can build that investment fund back up."

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. They could vote on a spending plan in the next couple weeks.