Tax collections have lagged behind expectations since September, when the nation’s economy started tanking. Before then, collections had been slightly above anticipated numbers.
The biggest drop for the year was $93 million in individual income tax collections, which Morris attributed in part to a loss in capital gains by Kansans because of the economy. Sales taxes were down by $15.6 million and corporate income tax dropped $14.7 million.
— The Associated Press
Topeka Public school officials are dreading the start of the state’s fiscal year like some students worry about the first day of school.
Kansas finished the 2009 fiscal year Tuesday approximately $126 million short, and Gov. Mark Parkinson has scheduled a news conference Thursday to discuss reducing the deficit.
In a brief talk with reporters on Monday, Parkinson declined to say whether schools would suffer another round of cuts.
But kindergarten through 12th-grade spending represents about half of the state’s budget, so school officials, already hit with budget cuts earlier in the year, are sounding the alarm.
School districts have reported eliminating 3,700 teaching and nonteaching positions to save $100 million and planned another $67.7 million in other cost-saving measures for the upcoming school year. In Lawrence, earlier this month, the school board cut $355,000 from the district’s 2009-2010 budget to bring the total reductions to more than $2.5 million.
In the last legislative session, lawmakers forced local boards to make reductions by cutting state aid to public schools by $80.4 million, or 2.4 percent.
Deeper education cuts will hurt Kansas in the long term by producing more drop-outs, fewer skilled workers and less economic growth, said Mark Tallman, a spokesman with the Kansas Association of School Boards.
The time has come to start thinking about raising more revenue, including taxes, some school officials say.
“Raising revenue may be a difficult choice, but like most sound, long-term investments, the economic consequences are clear,” Tallman said.
But state leaders say they are in no mood to increase taxes on Kansans during the current economic slump.
In a recent online chat conducted by KTKA in Topeka, Parkinson said, “Raising taxes is not a good thing to do in a recession because it drains money from the system at a time when the system needs money flowing to keep the economy going.”