Government

Government
11:16 am
Mon May 4, 2015

Analysis: Kansas May Revisit Gov. Brownback's Favored Tax Break

Republican lawmakers in Kansas seem more ready to reconsider a business tax break that's been a cherished economic policy for Governor Sam Brownback.

Governor Brownback is clear that he wants to preserve an exemption from personal income taxes for 281,000 business owners and 53,000 farmers.

He calls the policy, enacted in 2012 as part of a larger package of income tax cuts, the "small business accelerator."

But Republican allies who championed the same tax break three years ago say the Legislature will consider narrowing its scope as a budget-balancing move.

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Government
11:46 am
Fri May 1, 2015

Kansas Collects $4.4M Less In Taxes Than Expected In April

Kansas says it collected $4.4 million dollars less in taxes than anticipated this month.

The Department of Revenue said on Thursday that the lower-than-expected collections may be due to how tax returns have been processed since the April 15 filing deadline.

Spokeswoman Jeannine Koranda said the agency can't predict which returns will be processed first.

The state expected to collect nearly $516 million dollars in taxes for the month. Instead, it collected $511.5 million.

Government
11:31 am
Fri May 1, 2015

Kansas House May Rely On Taxes To Fill Budget Hole

Credit Stephen Koranda

The chairman of the House Tax Committee believes lawmakers will need to rely mostly on taxes to fill a hole in the Kansas budget. The state faces a $400 million shortfall next fiscal year. Republican Representative Marvin Kleeb says they’re hoping to avoid cuts to K-12 education, which accounts for half the state budget.

“I don’t think there’s a tremendous amount of expenditure improvement that can happen. We held schools harmless and I think a lot of us feel we made a promise to schools to keep that block grant funding stable for the next two years,” says Kleeb.

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Government
5:10 pm
Tue April 28, 2015

City Plan Calls For Significant Population Growth In Wichita

Credit wichita.gov

City officials are working on a long-term investment plan for Wichita with a goal of adding more than 100,000 new residents over the next 20 years. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur reports…

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Government
4:00 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

Kansas Lawmakers Back To Work Wednesday

Credit Stephen Koranda

Kansas lawmakers are close to the end of their annual spring break and plan to reconvene this week at the Statehouse to wrap up their business for the year. KMUW’s Deborah Shaar reports.

The State House and Senate are scheduled to be back in session Wednesday.

Lawmakers must balance the next state budget, and their research staff says they must close a $422 million shortfall for the fiscal year beginning July 1. But they have a full plate of other issues as well.

Wednesday would be the 73rd day of their annual session, out of the scheduled 90.

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Government
12:39 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

Brownback Releases Updated Kansas Budget Plan

Budget Director Shawn Sullivan.
Credit Stephen Koranda

Governor Sam Brownback has presented lawmakers with an amended budget plan following the release of sharply lowered estimates for Kansas tax collections. The proposal would save around $100 million over the next two years, which only puts a dent in a budget shortfall of around $400 million. Stephen Koranda reports.

The proposal uses cost savings from the Medicaid program and from cheaper than expected debt payments. It also increases a fee paid by Kansas health care providers. Shawn Sullivan is Governor Brownback’s budget director.

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Government
3:20 pm
Mon April 20, 2015

State Panel To Update Kansas Tax Collection Estimate

Credit Stephen Koranda

A group of state officials and economists will meet on Monday to put together a new estimate of Kansas tax collections.

As Stephen Koranda reports, the information is critical for lawmakers as they build the state budget.

Kansas legislators decided to wait to do the final work on the budget until after their spring break.

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Government
3:15 pm
Mon April 20, 2015

Some New Kansas Welfare Rules Need Federal Approval

Governor Brownback signs the welfare bill into law.
Credit Stephen Koranda

Governor Sam Brownback has signed into law a sweeping bill tightening Kansas welfare rules, but the new requirements must comply with nation-wide guidelines.

Sandra Kimmons with the Kansas Department for Children and Families, says many of the provisions in the law were already on the books.

Some new rules, like a $25 limit on ATM cash withdrawals, may catch the eye of federal officials.

However, Kimmons says that requirement doesn't seem to violate federal rules.

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Government
2:18 pm
Thu April 16, 2015

Brownback Signs Bill Tightening Welfare Rules

Credit Twitter / Sam Brownback

Governor Sam Brownback signed into law a controversial welfare bill on Thursday. It would cut the lifetime limit on cash assistance from 48 months to 36 months.

As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, it also says welfare recipients can’t spend the money at places like movie theaters and swimming pools.

Opponents say the bill stigmatizes low-income Kansans and might limit access to needed benefits. It’s also attracted some national attention. Here’s Jon Stewart on the Daily Show.

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Government
5:39 pm
Tue April 14, 2015

Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell Sworn Into Office

Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell, with wife Susie beside him, is sworn in at Tuesday's Wichita City Council Meeting
Credit City of Wichita

The City of Wichita officially has a new mayor. Jeff Longwell was sworn in at Tuesday’s Wichita City Council meeting after soundly defeating advertising executive Sam Williams in the April 7 elections. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur has more…

It was an emotional day at City Hall, where Carl Brewer, reaching his term limit, stepped down after eight years as Wichita’s mayor.

“Thank you, everyone, for allowing me to serve you,” Brewer said to applause.

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