Kansas budget

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

House and Senate leaders had told Kansas lawmakers to be ready to work over the weekend, but Friday they decided to head home, putting off tax and budget work until next week.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

A panel of Kansas officials has boosted the forecast for the state’s tax collections. They raised the revenue projection by almost $160 million.

That puts a dent in the Kansas budget deficit. After accounting for the new money, the state still faces a shortfall of around $900 million over the coming two fiscal years.

“There certainly remain big challenges for legislators and us between now and when the session ends,” said Shawn Sullivan, Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget director.

However, Sullivan added that "up is better than down."

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas will use $291 million in internal government borrowing to avoid a deficit in its current budget and pay bills on time through June.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed the budget bill into law Tuesday. The measure allows the state to avoid short-term cuts in aid to public schools, social services and other programs.

The state plans to liquidate a special investment fund and loan most of the proceeds to its main bank account to cover general spending before the fiscal year ends on June 30. The loan would be paid back over seven years.

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.

Kansas Health Institute/File photo

Kansas lawmakers have wrapped up the first part of the legislative session and will return to the Statehouse in May.

Legislators did manage to send a bill balancing the budget for the fiscal year that ends in June to the governor, but they haven’t finalized tax and budget plans for 2018 and 2019.

Republican Senate President Susan Wagle said she isn’t frustrated by the slow progress.

“It’s expected. Coming to a compromise, an agreement on a tax package is probably the most difficult thing any state legislature would have to do," she said.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The Kansas Senate has given first-round approval to a proposed spending plan for the next two fiscal years.

It includes raises for many state employees in Kansas, and it would shift money to restore some of the higher education cuts put in place last year. Republican Carolyn McGinn said they increase spending only in some targeted ways.

“The committee did a wonderful job in trying to hold the line. There’s a lot of need out there in our state. We’ve had a number of cuts,” McGinn said.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas House and Senate negotiators have reached a compromise to balance the current year’s budget without cuts to state services. They have been facing a shortfall for the budget year ending in June of nearly $300 million.

The budget agreement would delay a payment into the Kansas pension plan, KPERS. It would also borrow some money from a state investment fund.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The Kansas Senate is likely to debate a budget proposal this week, and House lawmakers could also make progress on their spending plan. But there’s one hitch: Both budgets are unbalanced.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

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.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas legislators advanced a new budget-balancing plan Tuesday aimed at allowing the state to pay its bills through June without cutting spending on public schools while it waits for new revenue from raising taxes to flow.

The state Senate Ways and Means Committee unanimously endorsed a bill to authorize internal government borrowing and temporarily short contributions to public employees' pensions to cover a gap in its current budget, for the fiscal year ending June 30. The full Senate expects to debate the bill Thursday.

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