Governor Laura Kelly says the state’s unemployment trust fund is likely to hit zero by March after the COVID-19 crisis burns through more than $900 million set aside before the pandemic to support people thrown out of work.
The Reflector reports that the governor said the most likely strategy would be for the state to prop up the trust fund by borrowing at zero percent interest from the U.S. treasury in a manner reminiscent of steps taken a decade ago during a deep national recession.
Despite consensus the Kansas unemployment fund would be empty in early 2021, Kelly made use of her authority as a member of the State Finance Council to reject a proposal to place unspent federal coronavirus aid into the state’s trust fund.
Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, an Overland Park Republican, recommended transfer of a yet-to-be-determined amount, likely in the millions of dollars, to the trust fund before the December 31 deadline for spending federal coronavirus aid.
Under current federal law, any portion of $1 billion allocated to Kansas amid the pandemic must be returned if not spent by end of the year.