Most Tax Increases Won’t Fix Immediate Kansas Budget Shortfall

Dec 9, 2016

Kansas lawmakers might try to increase taxes next year as one way to solve the state's budget woes, but that could be too little, too late for the immediate budget challenge.

The state faces a $350 million budget shortfall in the current fiscal year, which ends in June. Undoing tax cuts and implementing tax increases would help eliminate a budget shortfall for next fiscal year, but generally would not help out in the current fiscal year.

Washburn University Political Science Professor Bob Beatty says that’s what makes this such a tough challenge.

“The usual way to get some quick money is some sort of a sales tax. That gets the money flowing very quickly. The problem for the state of Kansas is we’ve done that,” Beatty says.

Kansas lawmakers put in place a temporary sales tax increase several years ago. Most of that increase was later made permanent, and lawmakers tacked on another sales tax increase in 2015.

Beatty suspects the Legislature may consider one-time fixes for the current year, such as budget cuts or shifting money from other parts of the budget.