Kansas faces future budget woes even with a revenue surplus

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas’ tax collections have beaten expectations nearly every month for two years and the state expects to end June with close to $1 billion in cash reserves.

Yet the budget problems that followed a notorious Republican tax-cutting experiment aren’t necessarily in the past.

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly won last year’s election by promising a break with former GOP Gov. Sam Brownback’s fiscal policies. And she twice thwarted Republican efforts this year to reduce taxes.

Now problems have arisen on the spending side of the state’s ledger. Lawmakers approved a relatively generous state budget this year.

Projections from the Legislature’s nonpartisan research staff predict spending will outpace tax collections over the next few years. That makes future budget shortfalls inevitable by 2023 unless lawmakers ratchet back on spending or raise taxes.

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