TOPEKA, Kan. – Kansas has suspended income tax refunds and may not be able to pay employees on time, the state’s budget director said Monday.
The state doesn’t have enough money in its main bank account to pay its bills, prompting Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to suggest transferring $225 million from other accounts throughout state government. But the move required approval from legislative leaders, and the GOP refused Monday.
Budget Director Duane Goossen said that without the money, he’s not sure the state can meet its payroll. State employees are due to be paid again Friday.
Goossen said the state stopped processing income tax refunds last week.
GOP leaders are hoping to pressure Sebelius into signing a bill making $326 million in adjustments to the budget for the fiscal year that ends June 30.
Legislators approved that bill last week, but it has not reached her desk.
Goossen said the state might also have to delay payments to public schools and to doctors who provide care to Kansans under the Medicaid program.
The state has transferred funds before when it has been short of cash in its main bank account. Most recently, the state issued the special certificates required in July and December for transfers totaling $550 million.
Each certificate requires the approval of the State Finance Council, which consists of the governor and eight top legislative leaders.
The council was scheduled to meet at 1 p.m. Monday, but Goossen said Sebelius canceled the meeting because Republican leaders told her they would not authorize the internal borrowing.
Some Republicans question whether such borrowing would be legal. When the state issues a certificate, it must promise that the money can be paid back by the end of the fiscal year. But the state already is projected to have a deficit in the current budget.
The legislation approved last week is designed to fix that.
Goossen said Republicans told Sebelius they want her to sign that bill first. Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, called the tactic “blackmail.”
Republican leaders planned a news conference to discuss what happened.
By JOHN HANNA
Associated Press Writer
Source: The Wichita Eagle