TOPEKA, Kan. — A recent study says the Kansas government could run on its cash reserves for only two days.
The Wichita Eagle (http://bit.ly/2dtG3l6 ) reports that Pew Charitable Trusts analyzed cash reserves for all states at the end of the most recent fiscal years and estimated how long state government could continue to function if it relied on those reserves.
Kansas ended the 2016 fiscal year in June with a $35 million balance, equivalent to about two days. The study says the average state has about 29.2 days of reserve funds.
Gov. Sam Brownback’s spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said the study reflects a steep drop off in the oil and agriculture economies. Hawley said other states with similar economies have also experiences declines in their state reserve funds, however each of the states she named has reserves that would last beyond the 29-day national average with the exception of Oklahoma at 13.3 days.
Kansas has struggled to balance its budget since GOP lawmakers cut personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013 at Brownback’s urging, hoping to stimulate the economy. The state’s tax collections have fallen short of expectations for 10 of the past 12 months.
Hawley said the Pew report “does not reflect how the administration has saved KPERS (the state’s pension system) from bankruptcy, invested in roads resulting in top national rankings, and invested more in K-12 education than ever before, all while returning money to pockets of hardworking Kansans.”
“It’s frightening,” Rep. Kathy Wolfe Moore, D-Kansas City, said. “It’s absolutely frightening that we only have two days of reserves if some kind of catastrophe hit.”
Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com