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KSN

Credit Agency Critical of Kansas’ Budget Outlook

Associated Press - January 9, 2015 6:21 pm

Kansas City Power & Light is appealing a September ruling by Kansas regulators reducing the percentage of annual profit the utility is allowed to return to its stockholders.

A leading bond-rating company says projected funding shortfalls and a recent court ruling that Kansas must spend more on its public schools appear to be creating growing budget problems.

Standard & Poor’s said Friday in a release that Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan to address a $279 million shortfall in the current budget doesn’t “appear to significantly address the mismatch between recurring revenues and expenditures.” Under the plan, a shortfall for the next fiscal year – previously projected at $436 million – would grow to $648 million.

The release noted that the state has been spending down reserves and said that “indicates credit stress.”

Standard and Poor’s downgraded Kansas’ credit rating in August to AA from AA+. The budget gaps arose after aggressive personal income tax cuts.