Governor Laura Kelly today sent a letter to members of Kansas’ federal delegation to commend them for supporting the latest coronavirus emergency relief package, which provides economic support for small businesses, hospitals and COVID-19 testing capacity. The letter also conveys the urgent need for additional federal support in the form of direct, flexible state aid.
“Although federal aid made available up to this point will enhance Kansas’ immediate coronavirus response efforts, it lacks the flexibility necessary to adequately meet the needs of Kansas communities for the duration of this pandemic,” Kelly said in the letter. “COVID-19 will continue to impose unprecedented economic and public health challenges for at least another 12 to 18 months, and I write to urge your support for additional relief in the form of direct state aid.”
Kelly said it is critical to understand that the $1 billion budget shortfall Kansas faces today as a result of the coronavirus is far different than what happened as a result of the Great Recession, which resulted in $1 billion worth of cuts.
“Although those cuts were brutal, they occurred gradually. This gave communities time to adapt and prioritize, so they could limit the damage to Kansas families as much as possible,” she said in the letter. “That is not the situation Kansas faces today. Never before has the state confronted such a rapid, steep fiscal drop due to unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances.”
Kelly thanked the federal delegation for its work on behalf of the people of Kansas, but expressed that she is gravely concerned that states are prohibited from using COVID-19 relief funds, such as those included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, to supplant lost general fund revenue.
“As we continue to navigate these uncharted waters, my administration will remain in close communication with you and your respective staffs,” the Governor said in the letter. “Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require additional information as you negotiate the next round of emergency relief.”