State still treating highway fund like piggy bank

piggybankDuring the past five years, the Legislature has diverted more than $1 billion from the state highway fund to other purposes, according to the Kansas Department of Transportation. This fiscal year the Legislature is transferring $264 million from the highway fund, including $140 million to help pay for K-12 education, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. Another $215 million transfer is proposed for the 2015 state budget. The transfers helped the state manage its finances through the economic downturn. But in recent years, they have helped it pay for income-tax cuts. Just counting this year and next, Wichita State University professor H. Edward Flentje said, “Kansas taxpayers will be paying down more than $400 million in debt, principal and interest, for the next 20 years in order to help underwrite income-tax cuts.”