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Kansas Has Lost A Greater Share Of Revenue Than Many States Due To COVID-19


This story is part of an NPR nationwide analysisof states' revenue and budgets during the pandemic.

The massive layoffs and business closures caused by the coronavirus outbreak took Kansas from having nearly $1 billion in savings to being $650 million in the red.

As the virus began to spread in March, state lawmakers ended their legislative session early and dispersed from the capital before they were able to fix the state budget to fit the new reality. That left Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly to propose budget cuts to make up the difference.

She has suggested trimming increases in agency spending, gathering up money that agencies have left unspent, taking a loan from a state investment pool and delaying some scheduled payments.

Republicans have criticized the strategy as a series of one-time fixes, but Kelly has said the plan avoids cuts to critical state services, such as transportation and K-12 schools.

So far, state revenues have outpaced gloomy projections. As the economy began to reopen, June tax collections were 22% higher than previously forecast.

But coronavirus cases in Kansas are spiking again, and the governor is not second-guessing her plans to balance the state budget.

"While these numbers are encouraging, we must continue to make decisions that will keep our state on sound economic footing," Kelly said in a statement.

Stephen Koranda reports on the legislature, state government Kansas Public Radio.


Copyright 2020 KCUR 89.3

Stephen Koranda is the Statehouse Bureau Chief for Kansas Public Radio.