With an abundance of extra revenue in the state coffers, this year Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s budget recommends a one-time $250 rebate to Kansas Taxpayers.
Recognizing that some revenues may be one-time only, the budget makes several one-time investments to reduce debt, such as paying off the Kansas debt owed to KPERS, the Kansas employee’s retirement fund, providing Kansas taxpayers with a $250 rebate, and making one-time investments and capital improvements in the state’s public safety, corrections, and juvenile justice systems.
In accordance with her previous announcement, the governor’s budget includes cutting the state sales tax on food. This proposal along with the rebate makes sure tax reforms benefit’s all Kansans instead of a select few.
The governor’s budget is also built around the expansion of Medicaid. If the state expands Medicaid to cover individuals who make too little to participate in the Affordable Care Act Program and two much to afford Medicaid as currently administered by the state, Kansas will net millions of dollars of enhanced federal matching funds.
A few other highlights of her budget includes:
A call for a minimum 5% pay increase for all state employees and includes funding to help recruit and retain State Highway Patrol officers, nurses, corrections officers, public defenders, Community Corrections, home and community-based service providers, child protection specialists, and others. It also includes funding to enhance pensions and new protective equipment and facility improvements for those working in secure facilities.
Promoting workforce readiness and competitiveness: funding for postsecondary education has not recovered to pre-Great Recession levels in over a decade. This budget not only restores higher education funding and freezes tuition at four-year institutions, it includes additional funding for need-based aid, Excel in CTE, and National Guard scholarships so that more Kansans can seek the education and training they need to qualify for in-demand jobs.
Strengthening Access to Mental Healthcare: With the lifting of the moratorium at Osawatomie State Hospital, this budget continues the work of ensuring mental health access 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 the state’s schools. It also provides new substance use treatment options for those in state hospitals and corrections facilities.