As the federal government shutdown continues, uncertainty is growing for citizens across this great nation as the effects of the shutdown begin to hit close to home.
Here in Kansas, our advance planning for a possible government shutdown means that we are able to mitigate these effects for our citizens.
Since taking office, my administration and the Legislature have worked hard to put our fiscal house in order. When we took office in 2011, we faced a deficit of $500 million. Kansas started this week with more than $430 million in the bank. This strong ending balance provides us with flexibility in cash-flow management that we can use to minimize the effect of the federal government shutdown on programs critical to the citizens of Kansas.
We are taking steps to ensure unemployed Kansans continue to receive scheduled unemployment payments and to minimize any disruptions to programs needed by our most vulnerable Kansans, including the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Women, Infants and Children programs. An extended federal shutdown puts these and other programs in jeopardy.
I instructed the Department of Labor last week not to proceed with plans to furlough 119 employees. This ensures unemployed Kansans will continue to receive scheduled unemployment checks.
The National Guard and Kansas Highway Patrol will continue to fulfill their critical public-safety roles. The National Guard is closely managing the use of maintenance repair parts, supplies and other items that it will not be able to replace while the government shutdown continues. In some cases, employees performing similar job functions are being rotated to minimize financial impact and loss of benefits. The state has assumed the responsibility for the costs of some operations, including utilities costs at National Guard facilities that are expected to be reimbursed when the federal continuing resolution or appropriation is passed.
The supplemental nutrition WIC program, which serves low-income mothers and their children, will operate through this month. We are continually reassessing our available options if the shutdown continues into November.
These actions will preserve critical services through October. My administration continues to assess our resources and identify solutions to the problems created by the ongoing government shutdown.
The Kansas economy is strong, just as its people are strong. I am committed to minimizing the effects of this shutdown on Kansans. At the same time, we must continue our forward progress by developing a skilled workforce, creating a robust economy and investing in making Kansas an even better place to raise a family.