Governor signs new budget to increase funding for mental health, law enforcement, education in Kansas

Published: Apr. 20, 2022 at 10:23 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Governor has signed a new budget for FYs 2022 and 2023 which include increases in funding for mental health, law enforcement, education and health services in the state.

On Wednesday, April 20, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly says she signed the state’s budget, House Substitute for Substitute for Senate Bill 267, for Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023.

Gov. Kelly said the budget passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and allows Kansas to continue economic growth through targeted investments in core services, higher education, and workforce development.

“This budget delivers on promises I made when I was first elected, including investing in our economic development tools, funding higher education, stopping the irresponsible practice of robbing from our highway fund, and much more,” Kelly said. “Kansas is stronger than it was four years ago, and as a result, we can confidently make critical investments in our state while at the same time eliminating the state food tax to help Kansans have more room in their own family budgets.”

Kelly noted that the budget closes the Bank of KDOT and ends extraordinary transfers from the State Highway Fund and restores full funding for the State Water Plan for the first time since 2008.

The Governor said the budget also makes a historic $500 million deposit to the state’s budget stabilization fund. She said this is the largest investment in the budget stabilization fund in Kansas history. She also said it leaves a balance that is more than five times higher than the state’s rainy day fund has ever been.

Kelly said the budget also restores higher education funding with a one-time investment in need-based aid, deferred maintenance, and workforce development through community and technical college funding. It also provides $3 million in scholarships to aspiring teachers who attend Kansas universities and are committed to teaching in the Sunflower State upon graduation.

The budget also provides $85 million in funding for agriculture innovation, health sciences, and economic development through the University of Kansas, Kansas State University and Wichita State University. Another $95 million has been set aside for higher education workforce development grants with a private match requirement, which includes $10 million for community colleges, tech colleges, and Washburn University, as well as $10 million for Private and Independent Colleges. The Community College program will also get a $28.5 million matching fund for facility enhancements.

The Governor noted that the budget increases the state’s funding for housing by $65 million over 2 years. She said the funding is dedicated to the development and renovation of moderate-income housing and the creation of a state revolving loan program to support workforce needs and close financing gaps in rural communities.

Kelly said the budget includes significant salary increases for Kansas Highway Patrol and Kansas Bureau of Investigation officers and employees. It also reimburses volunteer and part-time fire departments for PPE and fire bunker and wildland fire fighting gear. There is also a stipulation that includes one-time capital investment in the state’s infrastructure for mental health, corrections, law enforcement and the National Guard. Funding also provides for stab vests, facility improvements, equipment, body cameras and additional security for law enforcement and those who work in the state’s secure facilities.

The Governor said the budget increases coverage for post-partum mothers from 60 days to 12 months after birth and funds the Maternal and Child Home Visiting Program. She said it approves additional enhancements for Emergency Medical Services, adult dental services, cancer screening, pediatric primary care and newborn screening.

Kelly indicated the budget continues funding for state employees who work in 24/7 facilities including the state’s hospitals for mental health and developmental disabilities, correctional facilities and veterans homes. She said it also includes an increase of funds for several home and community-based services which include care provided for mental health, specialized nursing, frail and elderly Kansans and those living in nursing homes, and Kansas with intellectual and developmental disabilities. An increase in the assistive services cap has been included as well which will empower those who need assistive technology.

Also in the mental health realm, Kelly said the budget focuses additional resources on behavioral crisis stabilization services for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, staffing at psychiatric residential treatment facilities, diversion from state hospitals through community crisis intervention centers and suicide prevention. It also addresses the state’s competency evaluation and restoration backlog.

Kelly noted that the budget includes an increase of funds for the Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs Office to improve and expand services for veterans. It also makes significant facility improvements for the School for the Deaf and the School for the Blind.

The Governor also said the budget continues funding for the Families First Prevention grants and services which includes funding for recruitment and retention incentives for child-placing agencies. She said it also restores full funding for the state’s evidence-based juvenile justice prevention and rehabilitation programs and increases funding to the state’s grants to local judicial districts for community corrections grants. It funds new geriatric and substance use programs at Lansing and Winfield Correctional Facilities.

Lastly, Kelly said the budget increases funds for meat and poultry inspections, water programs, and the Animal Facility Inspection Program in the Department of Agriculture. She said it makes a single $80 million payment on the state’s water storage contracts with the Army Corps of Engineers and safeguards recourses for future generations.

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