Kansas Gov. Kelly outlines her agenda in first State of the State Address

January 16, 2019 - 9:58 pm

In her first State of the State Address, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly outlined an agenda that includes increased spending on public schools and expanding the state's Medicaid health coverage for the needy.

She also told lawmakers in Topeka that the state faces an emergency in its child welfare system and is "completely unprepared" for the next national economic downturn.

"Another recession will soon be upon us. It's not a question of 'if.' It's a question of 'when' and 'how bad,'" Kelly said. "Kansas finds itself now completely unprepared. We have no margin for error."

She also told lawmakers that she will honor her pledge to balance the budget without raising taxes.

The governor promised "we're going to properly fund our schools" and pushed lawmakers to act quickly, however she did not provide a figure. The State Board of Education has proposed phasing in another $364 million increase over four years.

In the Republican response, Susan Wagle said that Kelly wanted to "surrender" to the court's "edicts."

GOP leaders are also opposed to Medicaid expansion, arguing that it is potentially costly even if the federal government promises to pick up most of the expense. Kelly claims that it would help both needy families and rural hospitals.

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