Kansas GOP candidate Schmidt offers free financial, tax advice to ’22 Legislature

TOPEKA — Republican gubernatorial candidate Derek Schmidt opened the 2022 Legislature with a proposal for investing $1 billion in the state pension system, depositing $500 million in a rainy day fund and clipping the statewide sales tax rate with an emphasis on exempting grocery purchases.

Each of the attorney general’s recommendations, and dozens of others already floated by Gov. Laura Kelly and legislators of every political persuasion, will come into play because state tax receipts in Kansas vastly exceeded estimates. Phenomenal growth in state general fund revenue, inspired by federal spending during the COVID-19 pandemic, followed a crazy arc: $7.36 billion in 2019, $6.9 billion in 2020 and $8.86 billion 2021.

Current revenue estimates for the current and upcoming fiscal years, which start annually in July: $8.87 billion in 2022 and $9.04 billion in 2023.

“The state of Kansas has an unprecedented amount of cash on hand and projections to collect much more for several years to come. As legislators and the governor craft the new state budget, I strongly encourage a cautious approach,” Schmidt said.

Kelly, a Democrat running for re-election, proposed $450 million of the surplus be used to eliminate the state’s sales tax on food and $445 million be applied to a tax rebate.

The governor and attorney general cautioned lawmakers convening Monday for the legislative session to resist the temptation to launch an unsustainable spending spree.

Read the full story from Kansas Reflector here.