Topeka State agencies are being told to prepare for deep cuts in the next fiscal year, possibly as much as 19 percent.
The message came down Tuesday from Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jay Emler, R-Lindsborg, as Senate subcommittees start reviewing appropriations for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1.
“I don’t think the public fully understands what the recession has done to us,” Emler said. “We just don’t have the money to pay anything.”
Emler distributed a memo to the budget subcommittees that called on agencies to provide information that reflects a 10 percent reduction from the cuts that already are being considered for this fiscal year.
But Emler says there is a real chance that cuts of more than 10 percent are needed, estimating that the reduction could be as much as 19 percent.
So, he has instructed agencies to prepare a second reduction list that would hit that mark.
Asked if agencies could really see a 10 percent cut, Emler said, “I think they’d better prepare for them. We hope that doesn’t happen.”
State lawmakers face a $200 million deficit this fiscal year, which could balloon to $1 billion in the next fiscal year. If the economy continues to worsen, the budget hole could deepen.
Mark Tallman, a lobbyist for the Kansas Association of School Boards, said he has told his members to prepare for a 10 percent cut.
“That’s a potential that you might have to look at,” he said.
Such a cut could lead to huge layoffs because most of the money spent by schools is on personnel, he said.
In higher education, Kansas University Chancellor Robert Hemenway was scheduled to speak today to a Senate subcommittee on the impact of a 10 percent budget cut. KU officials said they didn’t want to provide details of what such a cut would mean before Hemenway’s talk.