“Over time, budget growth is inevitable as states grapple with inflation, growing populations and new needs,” former Kansas budget director Duane Goossen noted on his blog for the Kansas Health Institute. Kansas’ state general fund decreased by 3.2 percent for fiscal 2014, but averaged 4.8 percent annual growth over the past 30 years. Starting in fiscal 2018, though, the new tax-cut plan will trigger more tax cuts any year that the state’s revenue grows by more than 2 percent. “By limiting available revenue, that provision essentially also limits spending growth to a maximum of 2 percent per year, a ceiling that may prove to be quite problematic considering the spending history of Kansas and the other 49 states,” Goossen wrote. Required spending increases for Medicaid and the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System could, by themselves, use up all of the 2 percent revenue allowance, leaving all other state agencies and services, including education, with flat or reduced funding.
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