‘Nothing is going to be safe’: State grapples with budget hole

The coronavirus blew a a $650 million hole in Kansas' state budget. Now, even school funding is at risk, experts note.

By

State News

May 19, 2020 - 10:29 AM

The Kansas State Capitol Building

LAWRENCE — When Kansas lawmakers left for an early spring break in mid-March, the state was projected to have a healthy savings account of nearly $1 billion in reserves come June. They passed an $8 billion budget as the coronavirus pandemic was just beginning, not knowing whether they’d even come back to Topeka.

Since then, the virus caused thousands of businesses across Kansas to close and more than 200,000 people to file for unemployment. Tax revenues started falling off a cliff — income taxes are expected to be down more than 15% and sales taxes by 4% — and there’s now an estimated $650 million budget deficit for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

It’s up to lawmakers and the governor to fix the financial situation, and it could take wide-ranging budget cuts.

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