By Gene Meyer | Kansas Reporter
Kansas may not, however, have the means to support its current state work force.
New projections expect the state’s revenue balance to increase about $4 million, to $470 million, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said in a state house news conference Wednesday.
The governor said building the cash cushion was essential to help avoid financial disruption in 2014, when new tax cuts, intended to boost Kansas’ economy, start reducing individual income tax bills as much as 24 percent. Those tax collections are the state’s largest source of revenue.
The tax cuts are projected to ultimately reduce the state’s $6 billion general fund revenue streams by more than $1 billion. Still, Brownback said he would not cut spending for Kansas’ costliest core services —such as education, Medicaid and social services and public safety.
“We’ll cut government spending in other areas. We’re already looking at some possibilities,” the governor said.
He declined to identify specific cuts, but said the state could save additional money by consolidating what now are duplicative human resources, technological services and other operations metaphorically housed in the back shops of state agencies. Similar consolidations – and a 2011 early buyout offer taken by 1,000 employees – already have reduced state payrolls by the equivalent of more than 2,000 workers since Brownback took office.
Mike Marvin, executive director of the Kansas Organization of State Employees, the state’s largest government employees’ union, said he expects more jobs would be cut.
“I have no idea how many, this is the first we’ve heard of it,” Marvin said. “But when they talk about streamlining, that often means doing more work with fewer employees.”
About 252,700 Kansas workers were on state or local government payrolls at the end of June, the Kansas Department of Labor reported. That’s down more than 10,000 from a month earlier, primarily because school districts cut staff for the summer, and about 2,500 below June, 2011, the report said.
Modified July 27 to correct jobs numbers in the last paragraph.