Kansas’ budget woes are on the minds of most legislators as the 2017 Kansas legislative session begins this week in Topeka.
One Kansas economist hopes to see action taken on a number of budget-related fixes.
“There aren’t easy solutions anymore,” said Duane Goossen, Senior Fellow at the Kansas Center for Economic Growth and a former Democratic legislator. “There are really only two things to fix [the budget] in a long-term way: either cut expenses some more or raise some revenue in order to pay the bills.”
Lawmakers are tasked with closing a projected budget shortfall totaling nearly $1.1 billion through June 2019.
Goossen said that legislators have few options remaining to them in fixing the budget.
“The problem is so great that there really is no responsible way to only solve this on the expense side,” he said.
But Goossen said the 2017 legislative session could offer change after the November election sent dozens of new legislators to the capitol.
“A third of the legislature will be brand-new,” he said. “Many of the new legislators are coming with the instruction from voters to fix this.”
Legislators wasted no time getting to work Monday, as the House Taxation Committee voted to sponsor a measure the would repeal an income tax cut for more than 300,000 independent business owners known as the LLC tax exemption.
The tax cut was championed by Republican Governor Sam Brownback in 2012.