State Budget Not a Disaster After All

The State saw most of a projected state budget shortfall melt away with a fiscal forecast that is less pessimistic than a dire estimate issued this spring during a statewide lockdown for the coronavirus pandemic.

The forecasting group boosted the state’s forecast for tax collections by $463 million or 6.3% for the current 2021 budget year that began July 1.

The group also issued its first calculations for the 2022 budget year that starts in July 2021.

While the forecast predicts a drop in tax collections of 2.1%, or $166 million, that’s due largely to the end of a temporary, pandemic-induced move to help income taxpayers.

The Legislature’s nonpartisan research staff, which participated in the forecasting, now projects a $153 million budget shortfall for the state’s 2022 budget year.

That can almost be covered by an internal shuffling of government funds that Governor Laura Kelly already has proposed.

Legislative researchers projected in July that the state would need to close a shortfall of nearly $1.5 billion in its 2022 budget.