Gov. Brownback

Kansas News Service

Kansas legislators hit adjournment Friday with some big tasks left for their wrap-up session that starts May 1.

At the top of the list is a tax and budget plan, which largely will be influenced by the amount of school funding that legislators decide to add in light of the Kansas Supreme Court’s ruling last month. In the health policy arena, Medicaid expansion supporters are regrouping after the governor’s veto — and holding out hope for another shot this session.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is staying tight-lipped about whether he might take a job as an ambassador in Italy. The job, which would be based in Rome, is an ambassadorship to U.N. food and humanitarian groups.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

At a time when Kansas is facing a serious budget deficit and a court order saying school funding is inadequate, Gov. Sam Brownback may be preparing to leave the state for a job in Italy. A former high-ranking government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, tells Kansas Public Radio that Brownback will be named the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations agencies for food and agriculture in Rome.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas lawmakers are getting back to work on taxes quickly after taking a break. Leaders in the state Senate are planning to take up Gov. Sam Brownback's tax proposal Tuesday.

Brownback has proposed hiking Kansas tobacco and alcohol taxes and increasing business filing fees to help balance the state budget. Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning says they’ll debate the governor’s bill, even though they might not like the plan.

Stephen Koranda

Gov. Sam Brownback says Cowley County Community College is responding to his challenge to offer a four-year degree for just $15,000. Students who enroll would start their education at the community college before moving to Fort Hays State University. Eligible degrees are in the areas of education and technology.

Brownback made the challenge in the State of the State Address and announced the new degree plan Friday. He says the state has an interest in providing an alternative to more expensive college degrees.

Gage Skidmore, flickr Creative Commons

Gov. Sam Brownback will lay out his legislative priorities at 5 p.m. in his annual State of the State Address. As Stephen Koranda reports, it’s likely the governor will outline broad goals, but may not offer many specifics.

In recent years, Gov. Brownback has used the speech to focus on a few main themes and accomplishments, like defending his tax cuts.

Tonight, he may provide some new clues about his spending plans. So far, he’s only said his budget proposal will be balanced and will include both revenue measures and budget cuts.

Andy Marso / KCUR

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback unveiled a two-part plan Friday to bring more doctors to the state and quell health care shortages that he said threaten to kill rural communities.

Brownback, flanked by Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, a hospital executive and the head of the Kansas Farm Bureau, harkened back to his days growing up in Parker — population 250 — to personalize the push for more rural doctors.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has sometimes butted heads with state lawmakers, but he says he’s willing to work with them on solutions to big issues in the next legislative session. When asked about friction between his office and legislative leaders, Brownback said some of it is likely fueled by frustration.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Groups representing Kansas teachers, state workers, contractors and others are proposing a tax overhaul they say would solve the state’s budget problems. The plan would undo some tax cuts made in recent years by raising the top income tax rate. It would also reinstate income taxes on hundreds of thousands of businesses.

Former Kansas Budget Director Duane Goossen and others revealed the tax plan Wednesday in Topeka. He says the tax cuts have hurt the state’s ability to invest in needed services and the proposal would reverse that.

@GovSamBrownback Twitter

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is giving few hints regarding his plan for fixing the Kansas budget shortfall. The state faces a $350 million deficit in the current fiscal year and an additional budget gap next year.

The governor will unveil his Kansas spending plan in January. Brownback told reporters at an event Tuesday that he isn’t working with lawmakers on crafting the proposal, and he wouldn’t give any specifics about what he’s considering.

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