Kansas officials have issued new and more optimistic fiscal forecast boosting the state’s projected tax collections by $510 million over two budget years.

The forecast issued Thursday eases the budget picture as Democratic Governor Laura Kelly prepares to push to expand the state’s Medicaid health coverage for the needy.

The better numbers also are likely to intensify an effort by Republicans to cut taxes.  GOP Senate President Susan Wagle said there’s no excuse not to return extra dollars to taxpayers.

State officials boosted projected tax collections for the current budget year by $207 million, or 2.8%, predicting $7.7 billion.

The new forecast predicts $7.9 billion in tax collections for the fiscal year beginning in July 2020.  That’s $303 million, or 4.1% more than the previous forecast issued in November.

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