In her first press conference after winning on Tuesday, governor elect Democrat Laura Kelly made clear where her thoughts are with regard to the state’s budget.
“Clearly, school finance will be the number one thing that we will address in the legislative session coming up,” said Kelly. “We’ve got the money in the bank to take care of that. Then we will look and see. We’ll probably know more sometime after the April consensus revenues when we have a clearer idea of the full impact of the tax changes that we made and also the tax changes that the feds made. We’ll have a clearer idea then.”
Kelly talked about what she’s looking for in cabinet secretaries in her administration, though she hasn’t picked any yet.
“People who know what they are doing,” said Kelly. “Highly skilled people will be our number one choice and also those that share the mission of really bringing Kansas back to its former glory. I do believe that there are fundamental government services that ought to be provided and we need to have people who share that same philosophy. We also need to have really top-notch managers. These are going to be tough problems to solve as we look down deep into each of these agencies.”
Kelly also is looking forward to planning for a future for the state beyond a single two-year budget cycle.
“I’m really glad that the Republican leadership in the House and Senate recognize the need to do five-year at least forecasts, if not five-year budgets,” said Kelly. “It’s been an issue for us this last few years, where we’ve sort of cut it off at the two-year mark so we didn’t really have a good idea about what the forecast was like, so we will revert to that style. That made the most sense.”
The transition is still being shaped, but Kelly said she and current Governor Jeff Colyer’s staffs met on Wednesday and they are committed to making it as smooth as possible.