12 Mar Governor signs bill creating low interest loan program for municipal electric and gas bills
Following historic increases in natural gas prices during the February polar vortex, many Kansas municipalities faced gas bills that unpayable. The municipalities risked losing access to natural gas within days if they did not pay their bills.
In response, the legislature quickly passed a bill this week to provide $100 million in low-interest loans to Kansas municipalities to help spread out the cost of their natural gas bills over time. House Sub for Senate Bill 88 establishes a low-interest loan program which allows cities to apply to the State Treasurer for loans from state unencumbered funds. These loans must be for the purpose of lowering the immediate impact of the spiked electric and gas costs. The amount to be administered from the state funds must not exceed $100 million.
The interest rate would be set at 2.0 percent below the market rate with a minimum of 0.25 percent. The bill was structured similar to Senate Bill 15 which created an Economic Recovery Linked Deposit Loan program for businesses in response to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation was heard and passed by the House and Senate and then signed into law by Governor Laura Kelly.