State finances deserve more attention E-mail
Opinion
Thursday, 10 July 2014 10:13

By Topeka Capital-Journal, July 5

 

Kansas ended its 2014 fiscal year on June 30 with $338 million less in the bank than expected due to revenues that fell short of projections.

If you ask the candidates running for governor this year what is to blame for the shortfall and what possible remedies should be considered, they start pointing fingers.

We’d like to say it’s time to stop pointing fingers — what has happened is history — and get into a real discussion about the state of the Kansas economy and the state’s budget. Consider it said. Given that this is an election year, however, we expect fingers will be flying in all directions through the primary election in August and right up to the November general election.

That serves no purpose and is a disservice to the voters.

If the state meets its revenue projections through the end of the current fiscal year, which runs through June 30, 2015, it will end the year with about $25 million in the bank, based on projected expenditures. Meeting the revenue projections is not impossible, but it appears unlikely at this point.

And by November, the state and political candidates should have a good idea whether the 2015 Legislature will have to take action on a budget remedy.

Candidates should let the voters know before Election Day what they plan to do if it appears the budget is going to need some remedial action.

To date, Gov. Sam Brownback and his staff are holding firm with their projections the income tax cuts passed in 2012 and 2013 will eventually prove to be an economic stimulus and lift the state treasury to a healthy position.

Everyone hopes that will be the case, but voters might want to know what the governor and the Legislature would do if that isn’t the case.

Lawrence Democrat Paul Davis, the presumptive winner of his party’s nomination to oppose Brownback in the general election, proposes the state delay implementation of the next phase of the income tax cuts, which would allow restoration of public education funding without raising taxes on Kansans.

But if the problem is the Republican’s tax policy, how is freezing the rates going to produce enough money to solve any budget woes or hike education funding? Davis also proposes appointment of a bipartisan commission to evaluate tax law and “incentives for effectiveness.” Calling for a study isn’t really the answer voters want or need before going to the polls.

Hopefully, candidates will give voters the information they need before the election.

 
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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association, the National Newspaper Association and the Associated Press.

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