Here are 6 ways Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly wants to spend a $2 billion budget surplus.

TOPEKA, Kansas Kansas Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly is urging lawmakers to spend more on special education in public schools and expand Medicaid as lawmakers prepare to tap into the state’s $2 billion surplus.

It came Thursday when Budget Director Adam Proffit presented Kelly’s spending plan to Republicans, who chair the Legislature’s budget committees.

The governor’s budget serves as the basis for government spending. It’s the starting point that lawmakers are using to develop a nearly $9.5 billion budget for public services, from education to law enforcement.

Whether these proposals make it into law will depend on Republican MPs in the Legislative Assembly. FROM qualified majority in the State House and Senate, Republicans can ignore Kelly’s proposals and pass a budget with their own priorities without bipartisan support.

$2 billion having a state bank account virtually guarantees that the Republican-led legislature and the Democratic governor will clash over issues such as tax cuts and spending increases.

Kelly also recently proposed some tax cuts this will provide $500 million in aid over the next three years. The plan includes accelerating the phase-out of the food sales tax and eliminating sales taxes on diapers and feminine hygiene products.

Kelly also proposed lowering the Social Security income tax for retirees and introducing a three-day tax holiday for shopping before school.

Here are Kelly’s top six budget ideas:

  • Increase special education funding by $72.4 million each year for the next five years. The phased introduction will bring the state’s contribution to special education up to the full funding level required by law. Currently, the state ignores this requirement of the law. The increase in fiscal year 2024 will bring the government’s contribution to 77.5%. Kelly has previously stated that the state should be gradually increased to make sure other public services are not affected.
  • Expand Medicaid receive $370 million to $450 million in additional federal funding. The Kelly administration estimates that the new federal funding will cover the state’s share of increased Medicaid spending for about eight years.
  • Add over $5 million to increase compensation for family and friends who adopt foster children.
  • Increase higher education funding by $107.9 million, including $20 million in financial aid to state universities.
  • Add another $500 million to the state’s rainy fund to bring the bill up to the $1.5 billion Kelly suggests as capping the fund.
  • Provide $220 million that can be used by cities and counties to meet matching fund needs for federal funding for infrastructure projects and other needs.

Kansas News Service stories and photographs may be published free of charge by the media with proper attribution and a link to ksnewsservice.org..

Dylan Lysen reports on politics for the Kansas News Service. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanLysen or email him at dlysen (at) kcur (dot) org.

The Kansas News Service is a collaboration between KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW, and High Plains Public Radio dedicated to health, social determinants of health, and their relationship to public policy.

Copyright 2023 SDG 89.3. To learn more, visit KCUR 89.3.

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