In a press conference this afternoon, Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson said there are no more spending cuts possible, and that taxes must be raised.
Parkinson said the Kansas economy has made progress, but there are still significant challenges. He said that in February the unemployment rate went down, and that has been noticed in the declining number unemployment benefits applications.
He said that March revenues may exceed estimates.
Concerning the first part of the legislative session, Parkinson said that the consensus is that state programs can’t be cut any farther. He said that after one billion dollars in cuts, there are no more possible cuts. “There just isn’t any other area that we can cut.” Some conservative legislators have confided to him that they agree, he said.
He said the “Yoder budget,” which he said calls for cutting school spending while at the same time leading to potential property tax increases, has gone nowhere. He said he believes this budget doesn’t have enough votes to proceed.
The solution is not painful, Parkinson said. He said we should raise the tobacco tax to the national average and pass the temporary one cent sales tax. He repeated the assertion, as he has in the past, that the people of Wichita didn’t notice the start or the end of the one cent sales tax used to build the Intrust Bank Arena.
The tax would go away, he said, except for a small part used to fund a highway plan.
Other reporting is at Parkinson, Senate leaders predict mix of tax increases to solve budget crisis and Gov renews call for tax increases. State of the State KS provides video at Governor Calls House Budget Reckless and Says Legislators See Need For Taxes.