Calculations provided by Kansas Legislative Research (KLRD) show the $525 million House school funding plan would require a $306 million tax increase next year and a $293 million transfer from the highway fund to comply with state law. The following three years would require a $215 million tax increase and another $879 million transferred from the state highway fund. That means legislators who’ve been saying money shouldn’t be transferred from the highway fund would need to support a four-year $1.4 billion tax increase to pay for the school funding plan without highway transfers after FY 2019. Unless, of course, they’d approve spending cuts in the same amount.
And all of that assumes revenues will exceed estimates by $150 million per year going forward.
Many of those promoting the $525 million spending increase, including Governor Colyer, claim it can be implemented without a tax increase, but they are ignoring a law that requires a 7.5 percent ending balance. That ending balance law has been amended many times in the past to effectively say ‘except this year’ so legislators and governors could spend more. And some legislators who loudly criticized that practice when it was used to keep lower taxes in place but now apparently think ignoring the law is just fine to spend more money on education.
The KLRD spreadsheet shown here was prepared at the request and direction of Rep. Kyle Hoffman. It includes committee work as of March 15 and KLRD’s estimates of additional KPERS pension funding costs related to the school funding plan.
Get the hip boots ready if this plan passes. It will be a long election season of proponents denying they set voters up for a huge tax increase.