TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Full funding for schools, increases for law enforcement and tax cuts for Kansans are all included in Governor Laura Kelly’s state budget for fiscal year 2023.
On Wednesday, January 12, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly says she announced it budget recommendations after three she delivered in her State of the State address on Tuesday night. She said this budget builds on years of work by her administration to restore Kansas’ fiscal prosperity, grow the state’s economy, grow the workforce and invest in the health and safety of workers. Kansans.
“Fully funded from K-12. Closure of the KDOT bank. Balance our budget. This is what the people of Kansas elected me to do,” Governor Kelly said. “This budget not only restores state funding for essential services, it reduces the state sales tax on food. I encourage the Legislature to waste no time and send me a clean bill to Ax the Food Tax.
Kelly said his budget is fully funding K-12 schools for a fifth straight year and making historic investments in workforce training and higher education to ensure Kansans are ready to enter the workforce. the work market. Through the expansion of Medicaid, she said the state not only gains millions in enhanced federal matching funds, but also keeps more people in the workforce and boosts local economies.
The Kansas governor said recognizing that some revenue may be one-time, the budget makes several investments to reduce debt and increase structural balance, including paying down KPERS and other debt accumulated under previous administrations, providing taxpayers a $250 rebate and making one-time investments and capital improvements in the state’s public safety, corrections and juvenile justice systems.
On Tuesday night, Kelly recommended a freeze on tuition increases, eliminating the state food tax and expanding Medicaid.
Kelly said other highlights of her budget include the following:
- Reduce taxes responsibly for every Kansan – Unlike proposals that have focused the greatest benefit or tax reform on fewer Kansans, Kelly said reducing the state sales tax on food and providing a rebate each Kansas taxpayers will guarantee that the tax relief will go to those who fuel the state’s economy.
- Recognize the service of law enforcement and other state employees – Kelly said the budget provides a minimum 5% wage increase for all state employees and includes funding to help recruit and retain Kansas highway patrol officers, nurses, corrections officers, public defenders , community corrections, home and community providers, child protection specialists. and others. She said it also includes funding to improve pensions and new protective equipment and facility upgrades for those working in secure facilities.
- Support the state’s record economic growth – Kansas continued record economic growth for a second straight year, Kelly said, bringing the two-year total to more than $7.6 billion. She said this budget builds on her earlier efforts to restore the Department of Commerce by returning the Economic Development Initiatives Fund entirely to its purpose – economic development. Along with efforts to improve the state’s workforce through training and learning, she said the budget intends to capitalize on broadband development, encourage small business innovation, and expand and renovating new low-income housing.
- Achieving and Sustaining School Funding – Kelly said the budget includes adequate school funding to meet the demands of the Gannon settlement for a fifth consecutive year, which will ensure that students, parents and teachers continue to learn and overcome the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, schools have resources to help keep children on the right path to graduating, earning post-secondary degrees and certificates, and ultimately joining the state workforce.
- Complete closure of the KDOT Bank – The Kansas governor said the budget not only delivers on its promise to close the Bank of KDOT, but also ends other extraordinary transfers from the State Highway Fund. She said transfers for non-infrastructure programs such as mental health grants and debt service on bonds will now be funded through the FMS, making infrastructure dollars needed for their destination.
- Promoting Workforce Readiness and Competitiveness – Funding for post-secondary education has not returned to pre-Great Recession levels in more than a decade, Kelly said. The budget restores funding for higher education and freezes tuition at four-year institutions and includes additional funding for need-based aid, Excel in CTE and National Guard scholarships so that more Kansans can seek the education and training needed to qualify for in-demand jobs. She said it also provides capital investment funding to ensure that all institutions remain engines of economic growth with new facilities and technologies to increase the state’s competitiveness.
- Reduce fees and make payments on time – Under previous administrations, Kelly said one-time, temporary measures were put in place to increase KPERS’ debt, increase vehicle registration fees and delay the school’s final payment to the next fiscal year. After the recent PMIB loan repayment, she said the budget ends the DMV surcharge, prepays the KPERS debt, and returns the 12th school payment to the current year. She said it’s also paying off bonds sooner, improving the state’s structural balance and securing Kansas’ finances in the event of future domestic or international economic challenges.
- Strengthening access to mental health care – With the moratorium on Osawatomie State Hospital lifted, Kelly said the budget continues work to ensure access to mental health closer to home by providing funding for regional crisis services. and hospital beds, suicide prevention grants for local agencies, and expanding access to mental health teams in schools across the state. She said it also provides new drug treatment options for people in public hospitals and correctional facilities.
- Promoting Health Care Affordability – Kelly said the Medicaid expansion is not only good business for the state, but also helps Kansans stay in the workforce and keep local health providers operating. She said strong healthcare providers are key to keeping local economies strong. She said the budget also funds enhanced postpartum Medicaid coverage for up to 12 months, improving the mental and physical health of mothers and young families.
- Protecting the State and Preserving Our Future – After the state experienced major natural disasters in 2021, Kelly said the budget provided funding for personnel and one-time funding for upgrades to National Guard facilities and equipment and the health lab. and state environment.
- Full financing of the state water plan – For too many years, Kelly said the state’s sweeping tax policies have led Kansas to cut funding for efforts to protect one of its most precious resources: water. She said the budget fully funds the State Water Plan Fund for the first time since fiscal year 2008 – providing irrigation technology and other water-efficient resources that will promote resilience and abundance in rural communities and Kansas’ agricultural industry for generations to come.
- Saving for tomorrow – Until this budget, Kelly said Kansas was alone among states with a small or no fiscal stabilization fund. This budget provides Kansas with a veritable “Rainy Day Fund” in the event that national and international events threaten to adversely affect the state’s sustained economic growth.
To view Kelly’s full budget recommendations for Kansas for fiscal year 2023, click HERE.
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