Kansas Wrap Up Session Starts With 3 Way Fight onTaxes & Budget
May 8, 2013

Topeka capitol(AP) — Kansas legislators are returning to the Statehouse to resume the 2013 session, continuing negotiations to settle spending issues for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
Legislators have been on a monthlong break since April 5. House and Senate budget committees met briefly over the interim to review a new state revenue forecast and remaining issues in the $14.5 billion.
A rally is scheduled Wednesday morning by social service advocates. They want Gov. Sam Brownback to keep in-home services for the developmentally disabled from being administered by three private health insurance companies as the state’s Medicaid provider. The services are scheduled to be folded into the state’s KanCare system in 2014.
Budget negotiations include discussion over how to treat higher education. Brownback wants to protect higher education from further cuts.

Kansas Budget Show Down Looms as Wrap Up Session Starts in Topeka
April 25, 2012

Topeka Capital Journal:
Legislators will return to the Statehouse on Wednesday with 15 days left in the session and a teetering pile of unfinished business in front of them.
They left three weeks ago on an inauspicious note, with a budget deal collapsing at the 11th hour over whether to add about $25 million in school funding from the state highway fund (the House’s preference) or from the state general fund (the Senate’s stance).
That leaves an estimated $14.1 billion budget deal yet to be ironed out, along with a tax reform package that could go any number of directions, redistricting maps that have proved to be a political minefield, and an overhaul of the public employee pension fund still in play, along with a host of other issues.
“We’re obviously heading into a wrap-up session that looks like it’s going to be quite lengthy,” House Minority Leader Paul Davis said Tuesday. “I hope the Legislature won’t waste a lot of time in the initial days and get right down to business.”
House Speaker Mike O’Neal’s office didn’t respond to an email sent Tuesday.
Senate President Steve Morris said the conference committees that are trying to merge House and Senate bills likely will be busy this week, and he hoped the fruits of their labor would reach the House and Senate floors for up-or-down votes next week.
“The budget is, to me, the highest priority,” Morris said. “We absolutely have to get that finished, and I think we will.”
Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, agreed.
While Democrats are pushing for property tax relief and a r
estoration of some of the cuts made to schools in recent years, Hensley said the budget and redistricting are atop the priorities list.

Kansas House: Prelim Approval to Lawsuit limits on School Funding
March 27, 2012

(AP) – Kansas House members have given first-round approval to a proposed amendment to the state constitution aimed at blocking lawsuits over education funding.

The measure advanced Tuesday on a 91-31 vote to final action, which is expected Wednesday.

The amendment would declare that courts or the executive branch couldn’t direct the Legislature to appropriate money. The proposal is backed by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and GOP leaders in both chambers.

The Kansas Constitution currently says the state cannot spend any money unless the Legislature makes a specific appropriation. But in decisions in a school finance lawsuit in 2005 and 2006, the state Supreme Court told lawmakers they had to increase aid to public schools. The court also set specific figures.

Supporters want to put the proposal on the November ballot.

Kansas Lawmakers Still Working on Budget, Dem Chair Chief Blasts School Cuts
May 6, 2011

The AP reports Kansas lawmakers are still trying to nail down a $14 billion dollar budget for the state.

As the wrap-up session continues, the main  issues seem to be the state’s cash reserves and school funding.

The head of the Kansas Democratic Party is blasting the Republican budget the lawmakers are trying to wrap up.

At a Thursday news conference, Joan Wagnon accused the GOP lawmakers of making a mistake on school funding.

“ Kansas is going in the wrong direction in funding its schools,” she said.

Wagnon says the emphasis on the state economy and jobs, all the tax incentive are meaningless;;

Wagnon says the lawmakers need to find another $474 million to pay for the public school systems at the proper level.

The legislature is trying to wrap up its session in the next few days.

Kansas Senate Advances Local School Spending Bill
March 22, 2011

From the AP, a story that  will please some of the largest Johnson County school districts.

“The Kansas Senate gave first-round approval to two bills related to the authority of school districts to raise revenue locally for education.

On voice vote Tuesday, senators approved renewing the statewide 20-mill property tax for schools. The tax began in 1992 when the current plan for funding the 289 Kansas school  districts was developed. It raises $1 for every $1,000 in assessed property valuations.

A second bill, also advanced by voice vote, allows districts to calculate their local option budgets raised from property taxes at the 2011 budget per-pupil rate. Legislators propose reducing the base state aid per student from $4,012 to $3,780 per student in 2012.

Using the higher figure will allow districts to raise more revenue locally and offset cuts in state aid.