DALLAS — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback delivered a proposed fiscal 2012 budget to lawmakers Thursday that would trim spending by $876.4 million.
The proposal sets the total fund budget at $13.9 billion next year, down from $14.8 billion in fiscal 2011. The general fund budget would increase $346 million to $6.07 billion, up from $5.73 billion in fiscal 2010.
“The days of ever-expanding government are over and under my administration, they will not return,” Brownback said Wednesday in his first state of the state address to the Legislature.
Landon Fulmers, Brownback’s policy director, presented the budget to members of the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Ways and Means Committee. He said that though tax revenues are expected to rise in fiscal 2012 from the current year, additional expenditures will be required from the general fund budget.
“Tax receipts are projected to increase by $240.6 million in the next year,” Fulmers said. But “human service caseload estimates, the statutory [pension] rate increase, and replacement of stimulus and other federal monies used to balance the budget in previous years all combine to require $448.2 million more.”
Alan Conroy, director of the Legislature’s research department, said the revenue gap in fiscal 2012 is a result of the state’s current historically high unemployment rate of 6.8% and the loss of $492 million in federal stimulus funds.
The budget would be balanced by taking $200 million from the new 10-year highway improvement program and reallocating another $35 million, including $18 million from casino gaming revenue.
Fulmers said the long-range transportation plan adopted by lawmakers in 2010 won’t be harmed by the shift.
Cost savings on road projects will total $200 million over the 10-year program, thanks to lower-than-expected bids, and other adjustments, Fulmers said.
The 10-year Transportation Works for Kansas program authorizes the Kansas Department of Transportation to issue bonds totaling up to 18% of its revenues each year into the highway fund. KDOT estimates the new bond cap will support $1.7 billion of bonds. The agency issued $325 million of taxable Build America Bonds in August, but does not expect to issue additional debt until 2013. The budget also eliminates 2,000 unfilled jobs and closes eight state agencies.
Brownback promised to cut spending by at least $750 million from the current state budget.