KEPC UPDATE: Jobs & wages, state budget, Ks Statistical Abstract, tax reform, Ks Bioscience Authority

In this issue …

  • Jobs and wages grow in Kansas but there’s a catch
  • Where we are on the state budget
  • Kansas Statistical Abstract is published
  • Economic Policy meeting will discuss reforming Kansas taxes
  • Should we resurrect the Kansas Bioscience Authority?


Jobs and wages grow in Kansas but there’s a catch

The latest labor report for Kansas has been released and shows that jobs have grown in Kansas in August, but with a big catch.

Of the 3,600 new jobs reported, 3,300 were school employees returning to work for the new school year.

A tight labor market has forced paychecks up, according to the Kansas Department of Labor.

“August estimates indicate a tightening labor market in Kansas,” according to Labor Economist Emillie Doerksen. “The number of private sector jobs continued to increase and employers reported over the year growth in average weekly earnings for both goods producing and service providing industries. The household survey also shows a tightening labor market, with the unemployment rate falling to 3.3 percent.”

Manufacturing jobs grew 3.5 percent over the past year. Mining and logging (primarily oil and gas) grew 7.5 percent over the year.

Here’s a link to the numbers in the report over the past year and for the month of August.


Where we are on the state budget

The Legislative Budget Committee met earlier this month and took a look at revenues and expenditures for Fiscal Year 2018, which ended June 30.

J.G. Scott of the Legislative Research Department said by the end of the fiscal year, the State General Fund was $267 million ahead. Most was from individual income tax, including $218 million from the 2017 legislation that restored much (but not all) of the Brownback tax cuts.

So far, receipts for the new fiscal year are $13.4 million above estimates.

Scott said he couldn’t really put a trend together from only two months, but the state may have a better idea after September income becomes due.

Scott warned that, beginning in 2020, the profile showed the state will be spending more than it’s bringing in due to school finance, KPERS catch-up, and other obligations.


Kansas Statistical Abstract is published

The 52nd annual edition of the Kansas Statistical Abstract is now available online.

The document contains data collected through August for sixteen categories of information on Kansas: Agriculture; Banking and Finance; Business; Industry; Exports; Climate; Communications and Information; Courts; Crime and Public Safety; Education; Employment and Earnings; Energy and Natural Resources; Government; Housing and Construction; Income; Parks and Recreation; Population; Transportation; and Vital Statistics and Health.

The document contains over 500 pages of data, tables, maps, and graphs on Kansas.

For example, with the current debate on trade and tariffs, there’s information on U.S. agricultural exports to the world and Kansas agricultural exports by commodity.

There’s information on total U.S. exports via Kansas by the countries receiving them and commodities being exported from the state.

Here’s a link to the online document.

Economic Policy meeting will discuss reforming Kansas taxes

The Kansas Economic Policy Conference held annually by the University of Kansas Institute for Policy and Social Research will be held October 25 at the University.

This year’s topic is “Pragmatic Policy: Reforming Kansas Taxes.” It features experts from state government, education, and the legislature.

Here’s a link to the program.


Should we resurrect the Kansas Bioscience Authority?

In a story this week in the Lawrence Journal-World, Democratic candidate for governor Laura Kelly said she wants to bring back the Kansas Bioscience Authority.

Established in 2004, the program was designed to be the state’s venture capital firm to spur high technology bioscience research and development. It was sold off in 2016 after embarrassing problems with management of the program.

The Authority was the idea of former Republican legislators Senator Nick Jordan of Shawnee and Representative Kenny Wilk of Lansing. It is widely credited with being a major factor in the location of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) at Manhattan, a $1.2 billion project.

Here’s a link to the Journal-World story.