Kansas Lawmakers To Concentrate on Budget in Session’s 2nd Half
March 2, 2015

(AP) – Kansas legislators are shifting their focus to building the next state budget now that their annual session has cleared its midpoint.

The Republican-dominated Legislature began March needing to erase a projected shortfall of nearly $600 million in the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

They also must decide whether they’ll backtrack on personal income tax cuts enacted in 2012 and 2013 at GOP Gov. Sam Brownback’s urging to stimulate the economy. They could pursue other revenue-raising ideas.

House and Senate committees already have been reviewing Brownback’s budget proposals.

But March is when a full spending blueprint for the next fiscal year and another for the fiscal year beginning in July 2016 are supposed to come together.

Legislators hit the 45th day of their 90-day session last week.

Kansas Transportation Cuts Restored
February 16, 2015

(AP) – A House panel reversed a decision made last week and decided to fully restore Gov. Sam Brownback’s request to use millions of dollars from the Kansas Department of Transportation to fill gaps in other state spending.
The governor wants to take $724 million from transportation projects. Last week, the House Transportation Budget Committee voted to reduce that amount by $280 million, allowing about $444 million to be transferred during fiscal years 2016 and 2017.
On Monday, during a quick meeting not held in a committee room, the panel restored the $280 million fund transfer.
Chairman Rep. J.R. Claeys, of Salina, said more study is needed to determine the impact of removing fund sweeps on the budget.
He said the quick meeting was necessary because he had to attend another meeting.

Brown back Signs Budget Cuts Bill, Urges Lawmakers to Fix School Formula
February 10, 2015

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed a decision
Measure cutting funding for the state’s K-12 public schools this
Morning.
It was part of a stop gap measure lawmaker passed last week to avoid a cash problem for the state.
Public schools in Kansas took an immediate 1. 5% hit to their budgets.
“I also reiterate my call for the legislature to reform equalization factors in the current school finance formula. By reforming the equalization factors, the legislature could, and should, restore the recent 1.5 percent allotment to K-12 education funding.

“As the legislature continues its work, I encourage them to present a budget package with revenues exceeding expenditures in Fiscal Years 2016-2017,” Brownback said in statement.

Brownback Cuts School Funds in Budget Deal
February 6, 2015

(AP) – Kansas legislators have approved a stop-gap plan for erasing most of a predicted shortfall in the state’s current budget so bills can be paid on time.

The measure approved Thursday attacks a $344 million deficit projected through June 30 largely by shifting money from highway projects and other special funds to pay for education, social services, prisons and other government programs.

Senators approved the bill, 24-1. Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is expected to sign it.

Shortly before the Senate vote, Brownback also announced that he’d cut $45 million worth of funding for higher education and public schools in March, but offered an alternative.

Brownback called on lawmakers to reform portions of the state’s complex schooling funding formula with the next few weeks. he says that would restore the money being cut.

The problems arose after slashing income taxes in 2012 and 2013 to stimulate the economy.

Kansas Senate Sets Stop Gap Budget vote for Thursday
February 5, 2015

(AP) – Republicans who control the Kansas Senate expect their chamber to approve a stop-gap plan for closing Kansas’ current budget deficit so that it goes to GOP Gov. Sam Brownback.

GOP senators planned to discuss the bill Thursday morning, with a vote on it by the full chamber scheduled later in the day.

The House approved the measure Wednesday on an 88-34 vote.

Republican leaders believe lawmakers need to pass the bill by Feb. 13 to ensure that the state keeps paying bills on time.

The measure attacks a projected $344 million shortfall in the current budget, mostly by diverting money from highway projects and special funds to general government programs.

But tax collections fell short of expectations through January, and a deficit of $800,000 would remain on June 30.

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