Kansas Governor Sam Brownback announced today that the state ended Fiscal Year 2012 with a little more than a $466 million ending balance.
"Working with the Kansas Legislature, we have focused on fiscal responsibility and restraint in my first years of office," Gov. Brownback said. "We eliminated open positions and offered a voluntary employee buyout. We restructured and streamlined state agencies to make them more efficient and more responsive to their customers. We reformed KPERS and Medicaid, two of the state's largest fiscal responsibilities and worked to eliminate waste, fraud and other inefficiencies."
Brownback continued, "And during this time of fiscal restraint and responsibility; the state increased its spending on core responsibilities: K-12 schools, higher education, and Medicaid."
Brownback said the state has come a long way in getting its financial house in order. The state's ending balances during the last five years are:
FY 2009 $49.6 million
FY 2010: $876.05
FY 2011: $188.0 million
FY 2012: $466.3 million
FY 2013: $470.0 million
The governor recalled the state of the state's finances when he and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, M.D. first took office in January of 2011.
"Kansas had tens of thousands of fewer private sector jobs than a decade ago. Our state was losing residents to all surrounding states. We had the highest taxes in region. We ranked among the worst in private sector job creation. We had less than a $1,000 dollars in the bank. And we faced a $500 million projected budget deficit. We had to get off that path," Brownback said.
Brownback said the state' strong fiscal position is key to preparing for Fiscal Year 2014, the year when the recent tax cuts will be fully implemented. The tax cuts eliminate state income taxes on small businesses and reduce state income taxes on every hardworking Kansan by 14% to 24%.
"We have already begun preparing for FY14 by directing agencies to prioritize their spending and to identify cost saving efforts," Brownback said. "We will continue to move forward with eliminating waste, fraud and inefficiencies as we did the first years of my administration. We will protect funding for our schools, social services and public safety; these are top priorities for my administration."
Brownback pointed out the new pro-growth tax policy will create of tens of thousands of new jobs, bring tens of thousands of people to Kansas and help make Kansas the best place in America to start and grow a small business.
"It will leave more than a billion dollars in the hands of Kansans - they know far better how to spend their money than the state government. An expanding economy and growing population will directly benefit our schools and local governments," Brownback said.
The governor also announced the state's strong fiscal position makes it possible for the state to pay off five bonds early totaling $24.67 million plus $424,401 in interest for a savings of $5.4 million.
$1,310,000 million bond for Public Broadcast Digital Conversion for new digital equipment at the public broadcasting stations as they switched from analog signal to digital (both radio and TV). It was scheduled to be paid off in March 2021. Saved $159,457 in interest.
$11,045,000 million bond for the Kansas State Fair for rehabilitation and repair projects. It was scheduled to be paid off in October 2021. Saved $2.8 million in interest.
$440,000 bond for rehab and repaire projects at the Kansas Judicial Center. It was scheduled to be paid off in October 2016. Saved $48,571 in interest.
$1,975,000 bond, one of many for Kansas Capitol restoration project. It was scheduled to be paid off In October 2012. Saved nearly $18,000 in interest.
$9,900,000 bond for the Kansas Capitol parking garage. It was scheduled to be paid off in October 2021. Saved $1.3 million in interest.
With more than $1.1 billion in outstanding state general fund debt, Gov. Brownback said the state will continue to pay off bonds whenever it can.