Topeka Kansas’ falling tax revenues took another dive Thursday as budget experts met and declared that the state remains mired in an economic recession.
The Consensus Revenue Estimating Group revised downward revenue for the current fiscal year by another $235 million. Combining that with increased caseloads for social services and increased school costs, the state is looking at a $460 million budget shortfall.
Gov. Mark Parkinson promised to balance the fiscal year 2010 budget before the legislative session starts in January.
“To Legislators across Kansas, I say this: In the coming weeks, I will take whatever steps are necessary to balance the 2010 budget before the Legislature returns; that is a promise I have made, and it is a promise I will keep,” Parkinson said.
But more budget problems await at the start of the legislative session as officials said Kansas won’t begin climbing out of the recession until later next year.
New State Revenue Estimate ( .PDF )
To bridge the budget shortfall will take significant cuts, tax increases or a combination of both officials said.
“It’s a tremendous hole,” said state Sen. Jay Emler, R-Lindsborg, and chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. “I don’t envy the governor at all on this one,” he said.
Public schools, which make up half of the state budget, are likely to take a big hit.
Mark Tallman, lobbyist for the Kansas Association of School Boards, said damage to education would be “high” with cuts at the level needed to fill the hole.