Kansas officials brace for slump in state tax collections because of pandemic
Topeka — Kansas officials are bracing for a slump in state tax collections as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ripple through the state’s economy.
Gov. Laura Kelly said in an interview that economic fallout is likely “hitting already” for state tax collections. She also has postponed the state’s income tax filing deadline to July 15 from April 15, delaying big collections that come in the spring.
State officials and university economists will issue a new fiscal forecast for state government on April 20. It’s expected to be more pessimistic about revenues.
With confirmed coronavirus cases having almost quadrupled over the past week, more than 1.7 million of the state’s 2.9 million residents are facing local stay-at-home orders. That’s taking an economic toll, and the state has seen a huge jump in claims of unemployment benefits.
In other coronavirus-related news and notes from around the state:
• Inmates released from jail: In the Wichita area, about 200 inmates have been released from the Sedgwick County Jail since mid-March over concerns about the coronavirus. Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett told The Wichita Eagle that the goal is to give the Sedgwick County Jail “breathing room” so it has enough space to isolate inmates who might fall ill in the coming weeks.
• Movie theater company furloughs: With 600 movie theaters across the U.S. closed, Leawood-based AMC Theatres has furloughed its entire corporate staff of about 400 people, The Kansas City Star reported.
• Looking for beds: Dr. Lee Norman, the state’s health secretary, said a health department team is talking to U.S. Veterans Administration officials about the possibility of moving all patients from the state’s three VA hospitals into one hospital to free up VA beds for coronavirus patients.
He said the state also is talking with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about reconfiguring existing buildings to create alternative care sites. The Corps posted an online notice Thursday asking construction firms in Kansas and Missouri to provide information about whether they’re interested in such work.