RELEASE: Kansas Action for Children calls for investment as new fiscal year dawns
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 8, 2021
TOPEKA, Kansas – Across Kansas, children and their families have experienced a strange and uncertain year. For the state, that uncertainty carried over when estimating state revenue for this past fiscal year, which ended June 30.
Despite a strong ending balance, Kansas Action for Children remains concerned about the many Kansans struggling to emerge from the economic turmoil of the pandemic – and our state’s long-term fiscal stability.
Like most other states, Kansas’ end-of-year collections exceeded original and very conservative estimates. The state received nearly $1 billion more in revenue than expected for this fiscal year, with a total of more than $8.9 billion in taxes. This is 9.3 percent more than the anticipated amount of a little under $8.2 billion.
Individual and corporate income taxes saw higher-than-expected revenue, with individual income taxes coming in at 12.4 percent higher than anticipated and corporate income taxes 22.2 percent higher than anticipated. Unfortunately, not every Kansan has recovered equally from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Legislators must direct this money to meet Kansas children and families’ unmet needs.
We know that community members are struggling to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. These moms and dads are having difficulty obtaining child care as they return to the work force. And too many Kansans still cannot afford health insurance because Kansas legislators haven’t expanded Medicaid. Lawmakers could also look to rebalance our state’s upside-down tax structure, so it benefits everyone, not just the wealthy and well-connected. To continue this economic recovery, we must make sure every family is along for the ride.
In addition, policymakers can direct these funds to prepare for the next economic downturn and fund the state’s rainy-day reserves, along with addressing the state’s debt.
Calls for another round of tax cuts that would primarily benefit the highest-income Kansans and big corporations, while our neighbors continue to struggle and our state has outstanding debts, are tragically short-sighted, wrongly targeted, and utterly irresponsible.
Kansas can build an economic system, rooted in justice, where every Kansas family is able to emerge from the economic downturn stronger, not just a chosen few. But to do this, we need to create an economy where families have reliable child care, living wage jobs, and safety at work.