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ALEC report calls for spending cuts even as Governor Kelly looks to Medicaid expansion

The American Legislative Exchange Council released its report State of the States: An Analysis of the 2019 Governors’ Addresses on Monday. The report noted that Governor Laura Kelly focused on
Medicaid Expansion and increased education funding in her 2019 address.

“Spending has far outpaced population growth in the state,” said Lee Schalk, Senior Director of the Center for State Fiscal Reform with ALEC. “We’ve long pointed to the need for tax cuts paired with
spending cuts to go along with that.”

Expanding Medicaid without increasing spending will be a tough task at best in the long term.

“The way the program is set up, the federal matching rate decreases over time,” said Schalk. “Really, when states decide to expand their Medicaid program, they are making a commitment to increase their
spending at the state level as the federal government match rates decrease.”

If Kansas is going to continue to attempt to prioritize its spending to create opportunities for Medicaid expansion and to pay its court-mandated K-12 obligations, it needs to take a closer look at
all facets of the budget.

“One thing we like to point to is a concept called priority-based budgeting,” said Schalk. “That’s taking a look at every agency in the state and making sure that it’s fulfilling its purpose. That would obviously include education. There are many areas that all state agencies can become more efficient.”

Over the past decade, the state had the 11th-highest out-migration of residents of any state.

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