WICHITA, Kansas – A state government shutdown is not likely. But, it could happen.
“June 8, yes,” explains State Senator Michael O’Donnell. “Our drop dead date where it would be like Washington D.C. and Government would be shutting down. I do not believe we will be there June 7th.”
O’Donnell believes a deal will get done. But what if it doesn’t? Lawmakers agree they are not even close on a deal to get a budget and find $406 Million to fix the Kansas budget.
“We are mandated to get a balanced budget before we can leave Topeka,” says Democrat house member Jim Ward of Wichita. “If we do not have budget authority (by June 7th) it gets complicated.”
Ward explains that state employees would be placed on furlough, technically.
“Beginning June 7th, employees will be earning pay, which will be paid with the (fiscal year) 2016 budget,” says Ward. “So, if there is no FY16 budget, the pay checks for labor accumulated for June 7th & thereafter will be issued July 3rd. Those checks can not be issued unless we have a budget.”
And Ward, O’Donnell and many other say they are not close. At all.
“It shows a real failure on the part of the legislature to do their most important task,” says KSN Political Analyst Jeff Jarman. ” The tax policies enacted several years ago have not generated the promised revenues so there’s a fight now about how to correct that and the problem is it admits there has been a real mistake made with tax policy.”
Lawmakers in both the House and Senate, Democrat and Republican, say they are looking at repealing some or all of the tax breaks handed out in 2012.
Lawmakers spent the better part of Monday looking at tax plans. The House and Senate both could debate some tax issues on Wednesday.
“There has been some bad publicity but not a lot of pain on the part of the public,” explains Jarman. “And as soon pain comes in, with real budget cuts or the failure to get a budget and a shutdown by the government, that’s when I think you’d see real public outrage.”