March 10, 2017
Duane Goossen, who served as state budget director in the Graves and Sibelius administrations, held a presentation on Wednesday to discuss the Kansas budget situation.
“Our budget and our finances in Kansas are in big trouble,” Goossen said. “On almost every economic measure, Kansas is underperforming its neighboring states and is well under the national average.”
The event was hosted by the Public Administration Club and the Social Sciences department.
“Murad (Jalilov) and Connor (Clark) came to me and said they wanted a big speaker on the Kansas budget and I said that Duane Goossen is probably the most knowledgeable person in the world about it,” said Michael Smith, professor and chair of the social sciences department.
During the presentation, Goossen explained the basics of a state budget, describing how it’s broken up into several different parts.
The state general fund and the highway fund combine to make up the majority of the budget. Much of the money for the general fund, which is responsible for providing money for K-12 public education, postsecondary education and Medicaid, comes from individual income taxes and sales taxes.
According to Goossen, there isn’t enough money being taken in to provide the necessary funding for those services, putting the Kansas budget out of balance.
He attributes this discrepancy to the income tax cuts made five years ago.
“Kansas is collecting easily a billion dollars less in income tax revenue than we would if we had just left income tax alone,” Goossen said.
Statistics provided by Goossen, from the State Division of the Budget, outlined how the bulk of the tax cuts went towards a very small percentage high income Kansans and led to the revenue drop off.
“It hasn’t helped us in job creation or economically, but it has wrecked our budget and imperiled our services,” Goossen said. “The only way to truly solve our budget dilemma is to raise revenue or somehow cut expenses. And it’s just not realistic to cut anymore from higher education, Medicaid, or the highway funds.”
Connor Clark, member of the Public Administration Club and junior political science major , agreed with Goossen.
“I won’t say I’m infuriated, but close, that the people who are the stewards of what we’re going to inherit don’t want to acknowledge that the policies they’ve passed are putting us in the red,” Clark said.
Goossen’s presentation also touched on public education and how the cuts caused increases in tuition, along with the court ruling that states Kansas must increase money allotted to those services in order to fulfill the state constitutional requirement of providing suitable funding.
Read more from the Bulletin here.