Jonathan Shorman
July 25, 2017

Kansas gets less of its revenue from the federal government than nearly all states, but relies more heavily on service charges than most.

An analysis released Tuesday by Pew Charitable Trusts shows where states’ revenue comes from – how much is taxes, federal funding, service charges and other sources.

Kansas is in the middle of the pack on how much of its revenue comes from taxes.

But when it comes to federal funds and service charges, the state is closer to the edge.

Kansas derives 24.1 percent of its revenue from federal funds. Only three states – Hawaii, Virginia and North Dakota – have a smaller percentage of their revenue coming from federal sources.

At the upper end, federal funds make up about 42 percent of revenue for Mississippi and Louisiana, the two highest-ranking states in that category.

In the case of service charges – which includes fees and other charges, such as tolls – Kansas sits near the top. Kansas gets 20 percent of its revenue from fees. Utah, Virginia and Colorado are the only states with a larger percentage of revenue from service charges.

Pew’s analysis is based on fiscal year 2015 data. Most states with higher shares of federal funds expanded Medicaid, the organization said.

Under Medicaid expansion, states pay 10 percent of the cost of expanding eligibility for the program, which helps cover the elderly and disabled, while the federal government pays 90 percent.

Kansas lawmakers voted to expand Medicaid this spring, but Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed the proposal. Supporters were unable to come up with enough votes to override the veto.

“One way to improve the state’s share of federal funding would be to pass crucial initiatives, like KanCare expansion, that not only help our residents but also promote better fiscal health,” said Heidi Holliday, director of the Kansas Center for Economic Growth, which has pushed for Medicaid expansion and for the rollback of the 2012 tax cuts.

“Kansas has already forfeited more than $2 billion by not expanding Medicaid – it’s time to bring our tax dollars home.”

Opponents of Medicaid expansion have said neither Kansas nor the federal government can afford expansion of the program. Jeff Glendening, director of the Kansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity, has said “the cost to the state is immense” to expand.

On service charges, Rep. Steven Johnson, R-Assaria, said Kansas was moving toward “the outliers.” The report raises questions about the mix of service charges versus taxes, he argued.

“Are we charging for services that should be covered on the tax side?” asked Johnson, chairman of the House Tax Committee, though he didn’t provide answers.

Rep. Tom Sawyer, D-Wichita, said as the state has needed money, it’s raised it in part by increasing fees.

“On the service charges, it doesn’t surprise me because with the Brownback experiment we raised a lot of fees,” said Sawyer, the ranking Democrat on the House tax committee.

Read more from the Wichita Eagle here.

KendraWICHITA EAGLE: Kansas gets more of its money from fees than most states