Politics & Government

Kansas has $2 billion in unused funds, according to report

A Kansas think tank reported last week that state government is hoarding almost $2 billion in unused funds while at the same time pleading financial hardship.

The Flint Hills Center for Public Policy, which has its headquarters in Wichita, said the surplus is spread out over 1,658 special revenue funds controlled by state agencies.

The center argued that more of those dollars should have been kept in the pockets of Kansans who paid them.

Employers, for example, pay into the state’s unemployment compensation fund. Barbers pay into a fund that helps operate the Board of Barbering. Dentists pay into a fund that goes to the board that oversees dentistry. Funds counted by the center also included general tax revenue that wasn’t spent by an agency, but carried over to the next fiscal year.

"That money is put into a fund for specific purposes," said Duane Goossen, the state's budget director.

Rather than build up balances in those special funds, the center said, the extra dollars should never have been collected in the first place and should have been circulating in the state's economy.

"I'm fascinated by this report," said Rep. Owen Donohoe, a Shawnee Republican and a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

To read the complete article, visit www.kansascity.com.