Stephen Koranda

Contributing Reporter

Stephen Koranda reports on the Kansas Legislature, state government and everything else for Kansas Public Radio. He previously worked in Mississippi and Iowa, where he covered stories ranging from hurricanes to state executions. 

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Kansas officials have lowered the forecast for future tax collections by hundreds of millions of dollars, creating a bleak budget picture. The state now faces a $350 million deficit in the current fiscal year and a nearly $600 million budget gap in the next fiscal year.

Sometimes when the revenue estimate is lowered, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback immediately announces cuts to balance the budget. Brownback’s budget director, Shawn Sullivan, says they aren’t doing that this time.

Stephen Koranda

The Kansas Legislature will remain dominated by Republicans next year, but there will be an ideological shift away from the current conservative majority.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says he’s serving on the transition team for President-elect Donald Trump, but Kobach says he’s not angling for a job in the Trump administration.

Right now, Kobach says his focus is helping Trump’s team develop immigration policy proposals.

“Trying to put together a to-do list for the Trump team when they take office in January. The first 100 days, what’s going to get done, what are the top priorities, what are the orders that things should occur,” Kobach says.

Kobach says he is open to the idea of working for Trump.

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Election Day is here, so it's time to get down to brass tacks. Our collaborative team covering elections in Kansas has been answering your questions, big and small.

Katie in Shawnee has the essential question:

“What’s the best place to find who will be on the ticket for my district, and what’s the best way to look at their platform?”

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

It’s a campaign without ads. There are no TV spots or mailers. The only people voting are the 165 Kansas lawmakers choosing their new leaders.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Secretary of State Kris Kobach says this election will break records in Kansas. Kobach predicts 72 percent of registered voters will cast ballots, a jump from 67 percent in 2012.

If his estimate rings true, that would be an all-time-high of 1.3 million votes.

Kobach says turnout is being driven by tight legislative races and what he calls an “unusual” presidential race.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The election next week seems likely to shift the ideology of the Kansas Legislature. It appears there could be more Democrats and centrist-leaning Republicans. Stephen Koranda reports on how the governor and these new lawmakers might get along.

Gov. Sam Brownback told reporters this week that he would work with the new Kansas legislature, even if it’s ideologically different from now. Brownback points out how he worked with the previous moderate leadership in the Senate several years ago.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas tax collections came in almost $13 million below the estimate for last month. Personal income tax collections were up in October, but retail sales taxes and corporate income taxes were well below the forecast. Republican Governor Sam Brownback says sagging energy and ag industries are hurting the state's economy.

“We continue to experience a rural recession. Ag and oil prices continue to be low,” Brownback says.

Stephen Koranda, File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

Gov. Sam Brownback is not taking a public stance on whether the state’s Supreme Court justices should be retained this election, but his political action committee has given thousands of dollars to a group fighting to oust four of the justices.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

The return on investments made by the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System hasn't consistently lived up to estimates, and it may lead KPERS officials to lower the forecast for the rate of return next month. As Stephen Koranda reports, lowering the forecast could have significant consequences.

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