Archive for Thursday, June 2, 2016

Brownback not planning more budget cuts in wake of latest revenue shortfall

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signs a budget bill that makes significant cuts to the highway fund, Medicaid and higher education, Wednesday, May 18, 2016.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signs a budget bill that makes significant cuts to the highway fund, Medicaid and higher education, Wednesday, May 18, 2016.

June 2, 2016


Gov. Sam Brownback's office said Thursday that he does not plan to make any more spending cuts this month, despite a $74.5 million shortfall in May revenues.

"The budget office is looking at using fee funds held by some cabinet agencies, where there is discretion in the use of those funds, to balance the budget for the remainder of the fiscal year," Brownback's spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said. "We are not anticipating further allotments."

That will come as good news for workers at many state programs and agencies, including Kansas University in Lawrence which, coupled with its medical school in Kansas City, took a $7.2 million allotment cut earlier this year, and was cut an additional $10.7 million for the new fiscal year that begins July 1.

The revenue report that was released Wednesday stunned many observers because the official estimates of how much money the state should take in were just revised downward in mid-April.

But even with those lower estimates, individual income tax revenues came in $58 million below the mark, and corporate income taxes were $15 million below estimates.

That raised immediate questions about whether the estimating process itself is still flawed, or if something unexpected happened in the Kansas economy.

In announcing the numbers, the Kansas Department of Revenue suggested it could be both.

“Large company layoffs and struggles in the aviation, oil and agricultural industries point to an overall sluggish economy which contributed to lower-than-expected revenue receipts,” Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan said in a statement. “This is a trend reflected throughout the region.”

Under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or WARN, large companies are required to give workers 60 days notice before implementing mass layoffs. Those notices are also posted on the Kansas Department of Labor's website.

A search of WARN notices going back to March 1 showed only four had been filed in Kansas. A total of 487 jobs were affected by those notices.

They included 113 jobs at Sprint in Overland Park, 152 jobs at the manufacturing firm Arvos in Concordia; 150 jobs at Machine Laboratory in Lenexa; and 74 jobs at the Wichita Eagle.

Another nine companies filed what are called non-WARN notices because the number of jobs affected were below the threshold for full notices. Another 234 jobs were affected by those layoff notices, the vast majority of them in the Wichita area.

The most recent labor market survey from the Department of Labor for April reported there were just under 1.4 million jobs in Kansas, down about 2,900 from April 2015.

But the Revenue Department also said the administration is reviewing the entire revenue estimating process.

"Governor Brownback tasked Budget Director Shawn Sullivan with implementing a full, independent review with outside experts to evaluate current procedures related to revenue estimating and budgeting," it said. "The review will evaluate the existing consensus revenue estimating process to determine why it fails to provide accurate estimates for budgeting purposes, make recommendations for improving the quality of fiscal notes, and analyze existing tax policies."


Richard Quinlan 1 year, 11 months ago

We need some outside experts thats for sure , at governor for starters , then every admin position held by non vetted unqualified political hacks , then every republican legislator except for three that actually made it out of grade school. What an embarrassment and a complete self imposed crisis.

Steve King 1 year, 11 months ago

Fee funds. What is that? They have $75 million sitting around in "fee funds"? Is that like a Ferguson thing? A Chicago Police Black Ops processing center collection fund?

Michael Kort 1 year, 11 months ago

Brownie is not planing any cuts and talking about using fee accounts ( your fishing license fees to create 74.5 million ) because the real plan is to put government in the bath tub and drown it in debt and economic shortfalls .

Not dealing with it or their tax cut welfare for state "government subsidized LLCs" is their plan;...... and you got to admit, is working fine and doing swell, in the short term for the short sighted 1%ers who blame government for their failure to thrive as businesses ( to dumb to fail,.........we have to save them ? ! )

Larry Tucker 1 year, 11 months ago

The shameful and law breaking legislature needs to complete its job and fund schools in accordance with the state constitution. But since there is no leadership at the top, they will choose to threaten the courts and school districts across the state by not taking any action until the last minute. If they were anything like a private business, they would have been replaced a long time ago. It's time for new leadership in Topeka!!

Calvin Anders 1 year, 11 months ago

Are there no hungry children left to steal food from? Are there no more needy or disabled groups to de-fund, no more families living under the poverty line to squeeze cash from? Is Brownie taking a break from finding new ways to steal from the poor? He must be too tired from patting himself on the back for doing so well at balancing the budget. Heck of a job Brownie.

Robert Brock 1 year, 11 months ago

Topeka should change its name to Kabul.

Bob Reinsch 1 year, 11 months ago

I think Sam is taking the approach that if he just cowers in a fetal position, the troubles will all just go away in a couple of years.

Gee Hatt 1 year, 11 months ago

Or maybe he thinks he will be the next GOP Presidential Candidate in 4 years given his fiscal record in Kansas (said tongue in cheek).

Kate Rogge 1 year, 11 months ago

He knows what he's doing. He was hired to dismantle and sell Kansas government, and he is right on track to do that.

Bob Summers 1 year, 11 months ago

Kansas is just average in the study

The ten most financially sound states in the country are all heavily Republican, while all but one of the ten worst states are heavily Democratic. That’s according to a ranking of states in a new report from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University

The report — “Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition” — used official government data to measure the states’ ability to pay short-term bills and meet longer-term obligations, such as public pensions or health care costs, using five separate measures.

Rod Williamson 1 year, 11 months ago

Having a partisan website link that supposedly proves 'their' point of view doesn't make it so. Number 1 on their list is Alaska, which is in so much trouble it's considering adding a personal income tax for the first time in 35 years. Oklahoma is scrambling to find a way to close a $900 million shortfall North Dakota has a $1 billion hole in it's budget This list is seriously outdated (it says fiscal year 2014) and doesn't reflect the current situation at all.

Jim O'Neill 1 year, 11 months ago

First off, Kansas is not in either list. Secondly, Alaska, up until recently, had tremendous income from exported oil. The state has just initiated an income tax. North Dakota and Oklahoma are in similar situations but in both of those states, the direction is down.

In my view, the Republican party is not the problem. The problem lies with the Tea Party and the conservative wing of the Republican party. That is where the nut cases are. So, to find Republican states in good financial condition does not surprise me. But, what does bother me are states like Kansas and Louisiana where cost-cutting conservative Republicans screwed with the poor, undermined their educational systems and messed up their economies with Tea Party economic theory, which does not work.

Mike Cohen 1 year, 11 months ago

Really, did you look at the source of the information? "The Mercatus Center was founded and is funded by the Koch Family Foundations. According to financial records, the Koch family has contributed more than thirty million dollars to George Mason, much of which has gone to the Mercatus Center, a nonprofit organization. Democratic strategist Rob Stein described the Mercatus Center as "ground zero for deregulation policy in Washington.”

The Mercatus Center has engaged in campaigns involving deregulation, especially environmental deregulation. According to The Guardian in 2010, it "now fills the role once played by the economics department at Chicago University as the originator of extreme neoliberal ideas."[2] During the George W. Bush administration's campaign to reduce government regulation, the Wall Street Journal reported, "14 of the 23 rules the White House chose for its "hit list" to eliminate or modify were Mercatus entries -- a record that flabbergasted Washington lobbying heavyweights."[3]

Joseph Jarvis 1 year, 11 months ago

@Bob Summers: S&P has Kansas on negative credit watch. If they cut us to AA-, we'd be roughly in the bottom 10% of the 50 states--on par with MI, KY, and maybe PA, but above CA, IL, and NJ.

Calvin Anders 1 year, 11 months ago

Wow Bob, really silly and irrelevant stuff. First, it's from 2014 data. I realize Kansas was already on it's way down Brownie's experiment, but everyone must acknowledge that the state's finances are significantly worse now than they were then. Next, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University is a conservative think tank with a conservative agenda. Why should we trust their cherry picked data? Then, of course, we really should be comparing Kansas "Fiscal Condition" before Brownie's experiment to Kansas after experiment rather than to other states. But way to throw stuff at the wall to see if anything sticks, Bob.

John Williford 1 year, 11 months ago

No Idea where you got this chart, but Kansas is near bankrupt and Oklahoma is as well. Being millions in debt each month. hundreds of millions in shortfall and slashing budgets to nothing is NOT SOLVENT

Charles Pilcher 1 year, 11 months ago

so a state that is virtually bankrupt is in middle,shows how good this report is.

Jim O'Neill 1 year, 11 months ago

For twenty or thirty years, Talk Radio has been harping about waste in government and claiming that lower taxes and smaller government would stimulate the economy and solve all our problems.

The Tea Party, conservative Republicans and Sam Brownback bought this argument and implemented it. Others did the same in Louisiana, Wisconsin and Oklahoma. In Flint Michigan, Republican cost-cutting caused a crime against humanity.

They argued that government was the problem and that the less we have of it, the better. They claim that government does not create wealth, it only spends and wastes it.

NEWS FLASH: They are wrong. Well run government create the conditions necessary for wealth creation. Patent and Copyright laws protect intellectual property. Schools create the educated population needed to maintain an economy. Good roads allow the transportation of resources and products. The Food and Drug administration protects us and so does the health care industry, which is regulated by government. The Army Corps of engineers maintains our ports and I could go on-and-on but one thing is clear, we need government and government needs taxes.

Talk Radio, Conservative Republicans, the Tea Party and Sam Brownback are wrong and the people who voted for any of them, made a mistake.

John Williford 1 year, 11 months ago

Lived in Kansas 1984-2011, Oklahoma 2011-present...I have watched both sates in recent years follow that example. Both states are in serious budget issues and they are being ignored. Both have destroyed the health system in their states, education is a laugh, roads are pretty much trash. Yet they continue to give tax breaks to bring business in. Whats happening, businesses are leaving. Their experiement is failing, yet these ill educated people continue to vote for them.

Tony Peterson 1 year, 11 months ago

"The budget office is looking at using fee funds held by some cabinet agencies, where there is discretion in the use of those funds, to balance the budget for the remainder of the fiscal year," Brownback's spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said. "We are not anticipating further allotments."

It's just semantics. Cabinet agencies have those fee funds factored into their own budgets so it's still budget cuts despite claims that they aren't.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 11 months ago

Never Vote Republican Again!

A taxpayers response to the lack of school funding,a GOP threat to the Supreme Court and in general to the negligent behavior of the GOP Kansas Legislators.

Never vote republican ever again! They lie to the voters even after an election. They are probably law breakers NOT respectable representatives. Vote Them Out! Negligence is their rule of law!

The ALEC Agenda is the Kansas Legislators guide to DEFUND,DISABLE, DISMANTLE and DESTROY public education . Feel free to google Bill Moyer’s take on ALEC.

Their actions have tremendous negative impacts on every local economy make no mistake about it.

An excellent public school system is economic growth material!

Would you favor a sales tax increase to provide more money for Lawrence teacher salaries?

Teacher Salary Support

Of 5,198 voting 80% said yes. Remarkable ( of course we know this won't fly UNLESS the state legislature says yes).

Instead of building a new police building I say city government help out the school district.

Mike Cohen 1 year, 11 months ago

Sounds like the use of fee funds is a backdoor cut to state agency budgets.

Kate Rogge 1 year, 11 months ago

Yep. I'll bet the Secretary of State's budget isn't touched though. The Kochs' have big plans for Kris Kobach's finest hours this November.

Bill Mcbride 1 year, 11 months ago

Y'all sure they're(your current office holders) really fiscally conservative? the other brand stays in Church according to our nations constitution, faith is one on one and no one else imho.

Chuck Holder 1 year, 11 months ago

Seriously people are scratching their heads trying to figure out what the problem is? Let me enlighten you, the problem is called brownback. No further explanation required.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 11 months ago

One cannot believe Brownback or the news writer. There will be more budget cuts. Let's NOT kid ourselves.

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