State budget – Even before the past two months’ revenue shortfalls, problems were evident. With a month to go in fiscal year 2014, it appears that individual income tax receipts will be about $700 million less than a year ago, a nearly 24 percent drop. Even if April and May were just aberrations, even if “the big lug” really is over, Kansas is going to run out of money sooner than later. What then? Conservatives talk of lowering costs by shrinking government, but we can’t see that Kansas has hundreds of millions of dollars more waiting to be cut, and not just this year, but every year.
Candidates for the governor’s office and legislative seats must acknowledge that the state is in a fiscal crisis, and talk about what they plan to do about it. They should spare voters the platitudes about “shrinking government.” Kansas government is starving, and politicians are going to have to contemplate the unthinkable – a rollback of the draconian tax cuts that never should have been passed. The numbers are bad and primed to get worse. No flowery campaign talk can change the dreadful mathematics.