Leaders from both parties said last week they support the bipartisan effort by Kansas Sen. John Vratil, R-Leawood, and Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, for a constitutional amendment that would establish a budget stabilization fund.
The two sponsors said the proposed fund would help tide the state over during tight financial times. Vratil and Kelly said Kansas is one of the few states without a rainy-day fund.
State law requires the maintenance of a 7.5% general fund reserve, but the Legislature can and often does vote to tap into the required reserve to finance government operations.
Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, told the Kansas Chamber of Commerce last week that current law was not sufficient. Lawmakers would not be able to ignore, overrule, or evade a constitutional requirement, he said.
Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat, also praised the plan.
“Senators Kelly and Vratil have looked at the mistakes of the past and found lessons to be learned,” the governor said in a statement. “This bipartisan effort demonstrates the progress that can be made when politics are set aside for sound policies.”
The proposed amendment would require that 1% of any increase in state tax collections of more than 3% a year be placed into the fund. Lawmakers would be prohibited from tapping the fund until it reaches 7% of general fund revenus, and then only when tax collections fall below the previous year’s total.