Analysis: Kansas’ Budget Shortfall May Be Twice As Bad As We Thought

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November 14, 2014 10:29 a.m.
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Earlier in the week new projections of Kansas’ revenues said that there would have to be another round of deep budget cuts before the end of June in the ballpark of about $279 million — $239 million of which comes from Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s (R) deep tax cuts. But the situation might be worse than that.

A new analysis by Josh Barro at The New York Times Upshot blog suggests that that number is actually very optimistic and that the state revenues from income taxes won’t fall short by $239 million. Rather, the state will miss its target in tax revenues by $546 million.

That analysis by Barro comes a little more than a week after Brownback won re-election. At points throughout the 2014 midterms it appeared that the backlash to Brownback and his decision to pass drastic tax cuts (even by Republican standards in a red state like Kansas) could result in his undoing. But Brownback won and shortly afterwards new projections of Kansas’s budget painted a rather grim portrait.

That estimate said that the state would have to use up its $380 million in reserves to fill its budget hole and then cut around $280 million more for fiscal year 2015 to balance the state budget.

“They’re clearly expecting income tax revenue to beat last year in April and May, but we’re not on any path to do that,” former Kansas Budget Director Duane Goossen told the Upshot. “I would expect that the estimate is still too high.”

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