Did the state shortchange Ellis County?

Ellis County LogoEllis County and fifty-one other Kansas counties have filed suit claiming the state shortchanged them by about $7.6 million in making payments from a fund set up to offset the effects of declining oil and natural gas production. Ellis County leads the state in oil production and officials believe it should have received an additional $150K or more.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Shawnee County District Court. It contends Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration improperly accelerated a cut in payments mandated by budget legislation approved this year.

The state sets aside part of the tax it collects on oil and gas production to help counties facing declining production.

Payments are distributed in October, based on the previous fiscal year’s tax collections. The counties contend that the state must wait until next year to reduce payments.

The Department of Revenue says there is confusion about the law.

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