TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas’ Democratic governor is locked in a new partisan dispute with the Republican-controlled Legislature over her plan to largely paper over a massive budget shortfall tied to the coronavirus pandemic with short-term accounting moves.
Republican legislative leaders argued Friday that measures that Gov. Laura Kelly’s budget director outlined to balance the next budget merely push most of the state’s financial problems off a year — and back into the Legislature’s lap. The plan avoids cuts for public schools, social services and highway projects.
The dispute came to a head this week when Kelly asked legislative leaders for permission to move $900 million into Kansas’ main bank account from other government accounts so that the state can keep meeting its payroll and making payments to public schools on time. It’s been a routine practice over the past two decades, necessary because tax collections aren’t steady, causing the state’s main bank account to become periodically short of funds.