After seeing revenue numbers that were beneath estimates in January, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly wants to see more information before the tax code changes in the state.
“We really need to do absolutely nothing when it comes to our tax structure,” said Kelly. “Let all the dust settle. We made a huge number of changes last year with our state taxes. Then, the feds came through and made significant changes. We don’t really have the implications of that, yet.”
Kelly wants to hold off on changes until the revenue estimating group meets again in April.
“We should have learned our lesson with the 2012 tax cuts,” said Kelly. “Those tax cuts sent us into a tailspin and really decimated our state. We’ve walked into this administration knowing that we have a entire foster-care system that has to be put back together. We haven’t been funding our roads for eight years now. We have a school finance plan that we’ve got to get settled and get out of court.”
There is one area where Kelly wants to see more money spent and that is in expanding Medicaid.
“That 90 cents on the dollar, we are sending to Washington, D.C. anyway,” said Kelly. “We have sent over $3 billion Kansas taxpayer dollars to Washington D.C. Those dollars have been distributed to other states for them to provide Medicaid services for their people, for them to help their rural hospitals, and for them to grow their economy. This is all backwards. We may spend 10 cents, but we’re going to get 90 cents. It’s a boon for the state.”
The education budget has been split out from the rest of the budget because of the court timelines in the Gannon lawsuit and so discussions on that portion will happen first. The rest of the budget will likely wait until after the new estimates in April, as has been the state’s custom the last several years.