Kansas budget

Kansas News Service

The Kansas legislative session is not yet two weeks old, but there are already signs of the change that many voters called for in the recent elections.

New legislative leadership and an aggressive group of newcomers are pushing back against many of Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget proposals, which they say won’t fix structural problems with the state budget.

Message From Voters

From the earliest days of the campaign season, it was evident that many voters were frustrated about the “budget mess” in Topeka.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Lawmakers in a Kansas House committee are considering Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan to liquidate state investments to fill a budget hole.

The proposal would basically drain the investment fund of more than $300 million and pay that back over seven years, with interest.

Brownback's budget director, Shawn Sullivan, told the House Appropriations Committee that the choices may be this or budget cuts.

Pictures of Money / Flickr Creative Commons

Two-thirds of states across the country -- including Kansas -- are facing budget challenges.

Several states, including Arizona, Minnesota, Utah and New Jersey, are expected to come out ahead financially for the current fiscal year and the upcoming one beginning July 1. But others are projected to have budget shortfalls reaching hundreds of millions -- and in some cases, billions -- of dollars.

North Dakota has a budget hole of about $1.4 billion over the next two years. Oklahoma is expected to fall short by close to $870 million in the upcoming fiscal year.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

Part of Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget proposal would delay payments into the state pension plan, KPERS. It would also take an additional 10 years to pay off a deficit in the retirement system.

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Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget proposal would sell the state’s future payments from tobacco companies to plug financial holes for the next two years.

The budget proposal — outlined Wednesday morning — calls for the state to receive $265 million from “securitizing” the tobacco payments in fiscal year 2018, which starts in July, and the same amount in the following year.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback released on Wednesday a wide-ranging plan for fixing the state’s budget shortfall. It would take money from the highway fund, raise some taxes and overhaul the funding system for children’s programs. It would also take longer to pay off a shortfall in the state's pension plan, KPERS.

Jim McLean, of the Kansas News Service, spoke with Kansas Public Radio's Stephen Koranda about the budget plan and how lawmakers are reacting.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File Photo

Gov. Sam Brownback isn’t giving details on the Kansas budget plan he’ll present to lawmakers next month, but he has offered a few hints and suggestions on what the state should do.

Lawmakers will have to close budget gaps in the current and coming fiscal year.

Brownback says his plan will include both cuts and revenue to balance the budget. He also says Kansas will need both short- and long-term fixes to get the state out of the red.

Matthew Hodapp / KCUR

Ten more road projects in Kansas have been postponed indefinitely. That’s in addition to the 24 that were put on hold last month.

“Yesterday we were informed that the 18 projects that were scheduled to be let in January, KDOT has reduced that down to eight,” says Bob Totten with the Kansas Contractors Association.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is firing back against claims made by a top lawmaker this week regarding his future political plans.

Republican Senate President Susan Wagle said Brownback might not be focused on the state’s budget problems, because he might be focused on a possible job in the administration of President-elect Donald Trump.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas faces budget shortfalls in both the current and coming fiscal years. Gov. Sam Brownback will present lawmakers with a proposal for closing the budget gap. As Stephen Koranda reports, the governor has dropped a hint on what his plan will include.

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