Sales tax revenue declines across Kansas, Topeka freezes city spending

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – With sales taxes down across Kansas Monday morning, officials in multiple cities are assessing the impact to their local area.

Bernie Hayen with the city of Manhattan reported August showed June retail and accommodation sales were down more than 9% from last year. Country Stampede being moved to Topeka is just one of the reason for that in Manhattan.

Hayen looked at other cities and counties across the state and said most saw a decline in sales tax revenues from August 2018 to August 2019 as well. Collectively, counties and cities with sales taxes were down 4.1%. Click here to see a full list of cities and counties sales tax reports.

Topeka City Manager Brent Trout said the capital city is also seeing numbers decline during an interview on KSNT’s morning show.

“We’re having to make some changes in how we’re handling our budgets,” Trout said. “We have what we’re calling a purchasing freeze, which means that we’re going to have to go through an extra layer when departments need to make purchases they are going to have to send that through finance to ensure that it is a purchase we absolutely need to make in order to keep the government running through the end of the year.”

Trout said this is a serious issue and the goal is to end the year on a positive or at least be able to break even.

The city notified departments that when they want to make future purchases, a request has to be submitted, and a separate committee will review the request to confirm they are necessary purchases for the year. The committee is made up of the deputy city manager and finance employees, and they will postpone purchases until the next budget year if possible.

Trout said this spending freeze is an additional step to ensure that the correct spending is happening to balance the budget. He also said taxpayers should not feel any impact of this. There are reserve funds in any case they need to be used.

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