ICYMI: Kansas’ Budget Surplus
Provides Commonsense Solutions

The state is in a good position. The budget surplus means leaders can make choices from a position of strength. The priority should be to address the needs and pocketbooks of all Kansans. We’ll see if legislators are up to the task.” 

Kansas’ big budget surplus is a chance to provide taxpayers what they really need
Kansas City Star Editorial Board

October 10, 2023 

  • The state of Kansas is flush with cash…That is good news. Kansas is not so far removed from the days of then-Gov. Sam Brownback’s notorious “tax experiment,” which strangled state revenues, forced public schools to tighten their belts and produced a voter backlash…Now, however, leaders in Topeka face a serious question: What to do with all that money? 
  • Expand Medicaid. Up to 150,000 Kansans would benefit from expanding Medicaid eligibility. Studies show that the expanded program in other states has reduced the number of hospital closures, particularly in rural areas. And importantly, polls show Kansans overwhelmingly want Medicaid expansion. Legislators should at long last listen to their constituents on this issue. 
  • Fully fund special education. State law requires Kansas to fund local schools for 92% of the excess costs of special education programs, but the state hasn’t actually met this obligation for more than a decade. That has forced school districts to divert money from their general education budgets, straining the resources available for all students. But the Legislature earlier this year passed on Kelly’s $72 million request for special ed funding. This is another issue where partisanship shouldn’t be a factor. 
  • Smart tax cuts. In April, Kelly called for a one-time rebate of $450 to individual taxpayers and $900 to married couples filing jointly. That proposal found no traction in the Legislature. Kelly is ready to try again, announcing last week that she wants cuts to property, grocery and retirement taxes. That makes sense. 
  • But not those tax cuts…flat taxes are inherently regressive: They put cash in the pockets of the richest Kansans while offering precious little to the people who need it most. One analysis of this year’s vetoed proposal found it would give $3,000 back to top earners – and just $50 to folks at the bottom of the scale.