Kansas PTA Legislative Update - January 21, 2014

Governor’s Bold Budget Proposal Provides $0 for K12 School Funding Ruling

The governor’s budget proposal addresses a $648 million shortfall by cutting services, raising sales taxes and rejecting the $550 plus million court ruling that K12 public schools have been chronically underfunded for years.  

Winners and Losers. "It's two years and there will be some up and down, so I suppose you'll have some people who win or lose in it" (Governor Brownback, WIBW, 1/16/2015).

Cuts and Efficiencies. “Efficiencies. There are over $350 million of State General Fund savings in the FY 2015, FY 2016 and FY 2017 proposed budget based on a policy of running programs more efficiently and effectively” (p. 17, Governor’s Budget Proposal FY16).  Kansas Budget Director, Shawn Sullivan says, "I know many people have different words for efficiencies. I do not believe these to be cuts" (Briefing at the Capital, 1/16/2015).  

Highlights of proposed State Budget and adjustments:

1.    Allots $0 towards the $550 million K12 public education budget shortfall.
2.    Cuts state funding and transfers from within $615.5 million to bring budget back into the black.

  • Cuts $40 million in FY15 payment toward the restoration of the State’s pension fund KPERS from the state budget to the school districts operating budgets (aka classrooms) and another $92 million in FY16-17.
  • Deletes $63 million for this 2015 school year in K12 school buildings capital outlay, local authority equalization funds, and school bond/interest aid.
  • Level funds K12 public education at the current unconstitutional rate for the next two years, with no cost of living increases.
  • Decreases funding for colleges and universities by $70.4 million in FY16 and then up $26.6 million in FY17.
  • Cuts $32 million from the Children’s Initiative Fund (CIF) between 2015-2017, while 51% of all Kansas students are eligible for free/reduced lunch and rising.

3.    Increases sales tax on liquor by 50% and a pack of cigarettes by 190%, while slowing down the pace at which the state zeros out income taxes for lower income brackets only, to increase state revenue by $211 million.
4.    Floats a $1.5 Billion bond to back fill chronic underfunding of state pension funds.

55 Cents per Month.  "There's several indicators that show us growth is happening in the state, even with some of the struggles some areas have had," Jordan said. "We think, by lowering taxes, people are going to have more money to put into the Kansas economy” (KS Revenue Secretary, WIBW, Jan 16, 2015).  A family of $30,000 can expect to have 55 cents per month back in their pocket.  Is this enough to get Kansas economy going?  Is this income tax cut worth the impact on your neighborhood school?

Mary Sinclair, PhD
Kansas PTA Legislative Team