TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) — On Wednesday, Governor Laura Kelly signed the state’s budget for Fiscal Year 2022 and Fiscal Year 2023. According to her office, the budget passed the House and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support.

She said the state is doing well, and she continues to push for lawmakers to get rid of the state food tax.

“Kansas is stronger than it was four years ago, and as a result, we can confidently make critical investments in our state while at the same time eliminating the state food tax to help Kansans have more room in their own family budgets,” Kelly said.

She also said the budget closes the “Bank of KDOT” – a reference to money taken from the Kansas Department of Transportation to pay for other state needs.

What’s in the budget?

Here are the highlights, according to the governor’s office:

  • Restores full funding for the State Water Plan Fund for the first time since 2008.
  • Makes a $500 million deposit in the state’s budget stabilization fund. Kelly said it is the largest investment in the budget stabilization fund in the state’s history and leaves a balance that is more than five times higher than the state’s rainy day fund has ever been.
  • Restores higher education funding and makes significant one-time investments in need-based aid, deferred maintenance, and workforce development through community and tech college funding.
  • Increases the state’s funding for housing by $65 million over two years. This funding will be dedicated to the development and renovation of moderate-income housing and the creation of a state revolving loan program to support the state’s workforce needs and close the financing gap in rural communities.
  • Increases funding for the Office of Broadband Development, Kansas Tourism, small business research and development grants, work-based learning, registered apprenticeships, agricultural economic development, and the Job Creation Fund.
  • Provides $3 million in scholarships for aspiring teachers attending Kansas universities and who are committed to teaching in Kansas upon graduation.
  • Provides $35 million in matching funds over five years for workforce and economic development through the NIAR/WERX aircraft conversion program at Wichita State University.
  • Provides $85 million in funding for agriculture innovation, health sciences, and economic development through the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, and Wichita State University.
  • Provides $95 million in higher education workforce development grants with a private match requirement, including $10 million for community colleges, tech colleges, and Washburn University and $10 million for Private and Independent Colleges.
  • Provides $28.5 million in matching funding for community college programs and facility enhancements.
  • Includes significant salary enhancements for Kansas Highway Patrol officers and Kansas Bureau of Investigation officers and employees to ensure that the state remains competitive in its ability to recruit and retain the men and women that protect the state of Kansas.
  • Continues funding for state employees working in 24/7 facilities, including those serving in the state’s hospitals for mental health and developmental disabilities, correctional facilities, and veterans’ homes.
  • Increases coverage for post-partum mothers from 60 days to 12 months after birth and funds the Maternal and Child Home Visiting Program.
  • Approves additional enhancements for Emergency Medical Services, adult dental services, cancer screening, pediatric primary care, and newborn screening.
  • Reimburses volunteer and part-time fire departments for PPE, fire bunker, and wildland fire fighting gear.
  • Increases funding for our state’s Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs Office to improve and expand services for our veterans.
  • Increases funding for several home and community-based services, including care provided for mental health, specialized nursing, frail and elderly Kansans and those living in nursing homes, and Kansans with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Increases the assistive services cap, empowering individuals who need assistive technology.
  • Makes significant facility improvements for the School for the Deaf and the School for the Blind.
  • Focuses additional resources on behavioral crisis stabilization services for Kansans with intellectual and developmental disabilities, staffing at psychiatric residential treatment facilities, diversion from state hospitals through community crisis intervention centers, and suicide prevention.
  • Addresses the state’s competency evaluation and restoration backlog.
  • Continues funding for Families First Prevention grants and services and includes funding for recruitment and retention incentives for child-placing agencies.
  • Makes one-time capital investments in the state’s infrastructure for mental health, corrections, law enforcement, and National Guard.
  • Restores full funding for the state’s evidence-based juvenile justice prevention and rehabilitation programs.
    Increases funding for the state’s grants to local judicial districts for community corrections grants.
  • Funds new geriatric and substance use programs at Lansing and Winfield Correctional Facilities.
  • Provides funding for stab vests, facility improvements, equipment, body cameras, and additional security for law enforcement and those who work in the state’s secure facilities.
  • Increases funding for meat and poultry inspections, water programs, and the Animal Facility Inspection Program in the Department of Agriculture.
  • Makes a one-time $80 million payment on the state’s water storage contracts with the Army Corps of Engineers—safeguarding this resource for future generations.

Kelly vetoes a couple of items in the budget:

Vetoed:

  • Kansas Public Employees Retirement System—Exclusive Opportunity for Legislators
    Section 43(d) has been vetoed in its entirety.

Governor’s explanation: Legislators must make an irrevocable decision when they begin public service to either join or decline enrollment in the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS). The policy in Section 43(d) would create an exclusive opportunity for legislators to reverse the irrevocable decision that they consciously made when they elected not to join KPERS. Other public employees, including teachers, public safety officers, and nurses, are not allowed this special election under law. Further, this provision likely would not be approved by the Internal Revenue Service if reviewed.

  • State Board of Regents—Special Line Item for Single Program
    The portion of Section 109(a) that reads as follows has been line-item vetoed: Benedictine college engineering program: $200,000

Governor’s explanation: Under the State Board of Regents budget, $200,000 is appropriated for a college engineering program at Benedictine College. This budget includes many enhancements for higher education, including significant increases in funding for grant programs for public and private postsecondary institutions. One of these appropriations is a $10,000,000 grant program in Section 29(f) that is reserved exclusively for the state’s private and independent colleges. Benedictine College should apply for public funding for the college engineering program through this specifically designated appropriation for similar programs.