Kansas may furlough 7,000 state workers as tax-starved coffers run dry
More than 7,000 state employees in Kansas would be furloughed on Monday if state lawmakers cannot agree on a new annual budget by midnight on Saturday, state officials said on Friday.
The Kansas House and Senate are trying to make up an estimated $400 million revenue shortfall in the wake of tax cuts engineered by Republican Governor Sam Brownback in recent years.
The state notified 7,109 non-essential executive branch employees they would be subject to unpaid furlough on Monday, said John Milburn, legislative and public affairs director for the state Department of Administration.
The workers are among 17,556 employees who work in departments under Brownback, Milburn said.
The Republican-controlled state House and Senate cut certain business and other income taxes at Brownback’s urging three years ago. The governor said the cuts would help Kansas compete with bordering Missouri and other states to draw business.
But the tax cuts have left the state unable to cover its expenses. Lawmakers this week rejected Brownback’s proposal to raise sales taxes to help erase the budget deficit. The legislature is more than two weeks beyond its normal 90-day session as lawmakers grapple with the budget.
(Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City; Editing by Will Dunham)