If misery loves company, Kansas government should be feeling warm and fuzzy.
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that nearly all states are facing nightmarish budgets.
“Even if the recession is over, state budgets are still in appalling condition and are going to be that way for quite a while,” Corina Eckl, fiscal director at the NCSL, said in a recent release. “For many states, revenue recovery is not even in the forecast.”
Kansas has already made several rounds of budget reductions, cutting nearly $1 billion from a $6 billion budget. The Kansas cuts have led to layoffs, delayed health care services, closed prisons, and reduced education programs.
When the Kansas Legislature meets in January it faces the possibility of more cuts or increased taxes to bridge the revenue gap.
“The states are facing nearly unprecedented declines in revenue collections,” said William Pound, NCSL executive director.
Federal funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act have helped prop up state budgets, but when that money decreases next year, many states face the “cliff effect” of filling in those holes.
“We’re heading into an era of retro budgeting, where state spending is receding to levels five to 10 years ago,” Pound said.
Even though some economists say the recession is over, it usually takes at least two years for states to recover, NCSL officials said.