Consensus Revenue Estimates were released today and it appears that projections for this fiscal year (which ends June 30, 2016) are being revised down yet again – this time by $93.9 million. For the next fiscal year, estimates are being revised down by another $134.7 million.
This increases the budget hole the legislature must fill for this year to about $140 million and $151 million for next year. Of course, Governor Brownback continues to insist that there can be no reversal in his reckless tax policy, passed willingly by his legislative allies in 2012 and 2013.
We expect the Governor to release a plan to balance the budget some time tonight. One wonders where the needed revenue will come from. The transportation plan is almost gone, he has already delayed payments to KPERS, and most available funds have been swept up. Brownback has proposed issuing bonds against the state’s portion of the master tobacco settlement – a plan which jeopardizes early childhood programs in Kansas.
Of course another option would be to restore the income tax on more than 330,000 Kansas businesses but so far he has refused to budge on this “shot of adrenaline into the heart of the Kansas economy.”
So Kansans should steel themselves for more and deeper cuts to vital state services. We could see higher education or K-12 on the chopping block as well as social services and public safety.
We will report more on the revenue estimates and the Governor’s proposals tomorrow.