At a glance …
- Legislature awaits K-12 funding ruling by Kansas Supreme Court
- If Supreme Court upholds lower court ruling, lawmakers will be asked to increase K-12 funding by approximately $450 million
- Ruling will play major factor in direction of 2014 session
It certainly doesn’t feel like an entire year has gone by, but state lawmakers have returned to Topeka and the 2014 Legislative session is now officially underway. It seems as if every session turns on a specific topic put forward by lawmakers (in 2012 it was redistricting & incomes tax rates, in 2013 sales tax rates), but unlike year’s past, the 2014 session will be framed by the decision of an outside body.
The Kansas Supreme Court will soon release its decision as to the question of whether the state must comply with a lower-court ruling requiring the GOP-led legislature and Republican Sam Brownback to increase annual funding for K-12 education by an estimated $450 million, or 14% above last year’s level. (Wall Street Journal)
In light of recent dramatic tax cuts by the legislature, an affirmative ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court would place lawmakers in the delicate position of either creating new funding sources or cutting current funding streams to state agencies. As the Topeka Capital Journal notes, if the decision is upheld it “would bust a state budget that, despite [last session’s] sales tax decision, is already projected to run a deficit by 2018.”
Neither option is attractive. As you might imagine, lawmakers are anxiously awaiting the Supreme Court’s final decision which could come as early as this week.