Kansas Senators Advance Budget-Balancing Plan, Reject Spending Cuts

Mar 17, 2017

The Kansas Senate has approved a budget-balancing plan for the current fiscal year that avoids cuts to state services. The 27-13 vote advances the bill to negotiations between the House and Senate.

Senators spent much of the debate considering whether they should use cuts to help close a nearly $300 million budget gap. They eventually rejected three proposals to make spending cuts.

Republican Senate President Susan Wagle proposed a 2 percent reduction to government agencies and education. She argued that they should make budget cuts first before considering other options like tax increases.

“We need to respect our Kansas taxpayers and treat our government budget like they treat their check books. The first thing they would do in a shortfall is cut,” Wagle said.

The fiscal year ends in June. Democratic Sen. Lynn Rogers said schools would have few options for absorbing the cut so late in the year.

“This will wipe out all contingency funds, if school districts have them,” Rogers said.

The underlying plan delays payments to the state pension and borrows from a state investment pool to balance the current year’s budget.