The Kansas Highway Patrol has 82 fewer troopers than it did 10 years ago. And Southwest Kansas is suffering the most from a lack of troopers, reports The Wichita Eagle. 20 counties in Western Kansas have no troopers assigned to them. And 16 of those counties are in the southwest part of the state. Kansas is now seeking an increase in vehicle title fees to reverse that trend.
The state has proposed a $7.50 increase to vehicle title fees to allow the patrol to hire an additional 75 troopers to cover the state. Titles currently cost $10, but would rise to almost $18 if the plan is accepted.
Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley blamed the trooper shortage on Governor Sam Brownback’s income tax cuts. The state faces a combined shortfall of about $190 million for the current and next fiscal year. Brownback has said that he will not pursue tax increases this year.