A group of Kansas lawmakers will begin visiting college and university campuses this week to talk budget issues. The visits come in the wake of nearly $50 million in budget cuts over two years passed by legislators.
Lawmakers have said they want to talk to university officials about efficiency and how they spend money.
Gov. Sam Brownback, who opposed the funding cuts, says he wants lawmakers to learn more about the role of higher education in Kansas and the impact of the cuts.
Gov. Brownback issued a statement Friday saying his administration is committed to minimizing the effects of the shutdown. The governor says the state can juggle its cash reserves to fund programs that are usually sustained by federal dollars.
For example, the state had enough in its reserve for the governor to cancel furloughs for state workers who process unemployment benefits Friday.
However, some proponents of the federal health care law that created the marketplace think consumers should wait until any glitches have been fixed before they buy coverage.
Sheldon Weisgrau of the Health Reform Resource Project says people can start buying coverage through the exchange today, but they don't have to. They have until December 15 if they want their coverage to start in January.
A recent audit says the state has mishandled an economic development program. And in response, Gov. Sam Brownback says his administration will look at possible changes.
The Kansas Department of Commerce administers the PEAK program, short for Promoting Employment Across Kansas. It provides tax incentives for companies creating jobs in the state. The audit says the program overspent its $6 million budget for incentives last fiscal year by $1.5 million. Gov. Brownback says his office is studying the report.