Kansas Mental
Health Coalition

Legislature Poised to Address Budget and Revenues

April 20, 2015 8:41 PM | Anonymous

House Appropriations Apr 23-24, Senate Ways and Means Apr 28

The Consensus Revenue Estimating Group met April 20 and the report contained more bad news – forecasting $98.2 million reduced revenues for FY 16 and $100.8 million reduced revenues for FY 17.  The current fiscal year estimates reduced revenues of $87.5 million – and increased adjustments of $244.5 million, mostly from the passage of the rescission bill in February.  It is not clear where the $157 million difference will leave the overall budget for FY 15 – ending June 30.  But the mega-budget bill will require further adjustments unless significant tax policy bills are moved forward.

Even with the Governor’s Allotments last Fall, the rescission bill H Sub for SB 4) addressed a $300 million budget shortfall for fiscal year 2015 (ending in June) to prevent the state from defaulting on its financial obligations. The legislation included several transfers, cuts and delays in funding, including $158 million from the State Highway Trust Fund, $7.9 million in delayed payment to the Kansas Employment Retirement System and $7.1 million from the Job Creation Program Fund. The House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 88-34. The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 24-13 sending it to the Governor to sign into law on February 16.

Currently, Senate Sub for HB 2135 remains in conference committee – this is the 2015 Legislative Session’s Mega-Budget Bill.  Only the Senate has passed a mega-budget bill this session, which puts the House of Representatives in the uncomfortable position of having to either concur with the version as it emerges from conference, or send it back for more work.  There is no opportunity for floor amendments unless they move forward their own House bill.  The House and Senate Conference Committee ended its negotiations with a tentative agreement, but did not move it to the floor for concurrence – choosing instead to hold it over to the Veto Session.   It is likely that the late session budget adjustments that typically are passed in an Omnibus bill will simply be rolled into Senate Sub for HB 2135.  As it stands, the bill spent about $16 million more than the Governor’s proposed budget – ending up around $141 million below revenue estimates.

The Appropriations Committee will meet this week and Senate Ways and Means will meet next week to cover the discussion of omnibus items.  State Budget Director Shawn Sullivan indicated today that the Governor will be meeting with his staff this week to make recommendations for revenue enhancements.  His policies for increasing tobacco and liquor taxes, as well as some income tax adjustments, have seen no action to date.  Both bills had public hearings during the regular session.

House Appropriations Committee -  Thursday April 23 beginning at 10:00 am and Friday April 24 beginning at 9 am in Room 112-N

Senate Ways and Means Committee  - Tuesday April 28 beginning at 3 pm in Room 548-S

(c) Kansas Mental Health Coalition, P.O. Box 4744, Topeka, KS  66604  785-969-1617

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