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Gov. Kelly announces FY 2022 budget to protect fiscal foundation, kickstart recovery

(AP)
Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 12:43 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Governor Laura Kelly has announced the Fiscal Year 2022 Kansas Budget to protect the fiscal foundation of the state and kickstart its economic recovery.

Governor Laura Kelly says she has announced her third budget recommendation for the State of Kansas. She said the fiscally responsible budget protects and invests in services such as education, infrastructure and economic development, while also keeping the state on a path for economic growth.

“All Kansans benefit from good schools, a strong infrastructure, and access to affordable healthcare,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “This fiscally responsible budget protects the critical resources, services, and programs Kansas communities and businesses need to recover and emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever.”

According to Gov. Kelly, the budget protects public schools, provides funds to expand Medicaid and behavioral health services, allocates $37.5 million to modernize the unemployment system and maintains fiscal responsibility through a $600.9 million ending balance.

Gov. Kelly said her budget accomplishes the following goals that are necessary to recover and rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic, without increases to individual or business income taxes:

  • Maintaining Fiscal Responsibility: Gov. Kelly said her proposed budget protects critical public services while also stabilizing the state budget during a year of significant economic instability. She said it also leverages federal stimulus dollars and avoids increases to income tax for families and businesses. Because of her fiscal leadership, she said the FY 2022 recommendation maintains a healthy State General Fund ending balance of $600.9 million.
  • Continuing Record-Breaking Economic Growth: Gov. Kelly said despite the economic pressures of COVID-19, the state has recorded over $2.5 billion in new investment from businesses like Urban Outfitters, Amazon and Great Plains Manufacturing. She said the deals were spurred by her investments in rebuilding the Kansas Department of Commerce and its economic development tools. She said the budget protects these tools by supporting community development programs like the Kansas Main Street Program, protecting funding in the Economic Development Initiatives Fund and allocating funds to hire experienced economic development staff to make Kansas an attractive place to grow a business.
  • Protecting Kansas K-12 Public Schools: Gov. Kelly said in 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the state had enacted a plan fulfilling the state’s constitutional obligation to adequately and fairly fund public schools. She said the new budget puts Kansas on track to increase school funding by $388.1 million through FY 2023. She said fur the upcoming year, despite significant state fiscal challenges brought on by the pandemic, she has continued her commitment to public education by protecting funding for FY 2022 and FY 2023.
  • Expanding Access to Affordable Healthcare and Behavioral Health Services: Gov. Kelly said the pandemic has highlighted the importance of access to affordable healthcare in protecting residents and keeping the state on the path of economic growth. She said her recommendation includes $19 million to expand KanCare, Kansas’ Medicaid program. She said the budget also allocates $5 million in additional funds to the Mobile Response and Stabilization Services Program and $3 million for Family Crisis Response and Support services. She said these programs will expand behavioral health crisis response and triage services to residents, including justice-involved youth and children in foster care.
  • Closing the “Bank of KDOT”: Gov. Kelly said when she entered office, she promised to close the Bank of KDOT by the end of her first term. She said this budget keeps that promise by reducing transfers from the State Highway Fund to $133.7 million in FY 2021 and $66.9 million in FY 2022. She said in a difficult budget year, her recommendation to phase out the reliance on the State Highway Fund for general purposes will help provide resources necessary to continue critical investments in the comprehensive Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Plan approved during the 2020 Legislative Session.
  • Investing in the State’s Digital Infrastructure: Gov. Kelly said updating the state’s digital infrastructure is critical for economic growth and to increase the transparency and accessibility of the state’s public services. She said her budget makes substantial investments it improve Kansas’ IT systems, which includes leveraging $37.5 million in federal funds to begin to modernize and improve Kansas’ unemployment insurance systems. She said it also makes other critical IT investments, which include $2 million for Electronic Health Records support to the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, $3.1 million for replacing the state’s Juvenile and Offender Management Information Systems and $4.1 million in funding for the Office of Informational Technology Services to make improvements in IT security and underlying systems.
  • Protecting State Retirees by Stabilizing KPERS: Gov. Kelly said her budget also proposes the reamortization of the legacy unfunded actuarial liability of KPERS for 25 years. She said this is an inevitable fiscally responsible step that will stabilize KPERS and create $158.7 million in savings to the State General Fund. She said reamortization is a frequently used tool to manage pension systems in other states and better positions Kansa to make full, timely KPERS payments in the present and future. She said stabilizing KPERS through reamortization is critical in FY 2022 to continue important investments in economic development, infrastructure and healthcare that will help the state recover.

To see Gov. KElly’s full budget recommendation, click here.

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