Kansas budget

Dave Ranney, Heartland Health Monitor

An advocacy group is saying that Gov. Sam Brownback’s latest plan to avert a budget deficit will hurt some of the state’s poorest children. Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean has more on concerns being raised by children’s advocates.

File photo

The head of the Kansas Sentencing Commission says he’s worried state budget cuts could hurt a program that helps some drug offenders avoid jail time.

The program lets some Kansas drug offenders go through treatment and supervision, which helps them avoid prison. The $6.5 million pays for treatment for more than 1600 offenders a year. Scott Schultz, with the Kansas Sentencing Commission, is concerned it could be targeted for budget cuts.

“I think we all know that there’s a storm brewing on the horizon,” Schultz says.

Stephen Koranda file photo / KPR

Gov. Sam Brownback doesn't plan to be present when his administration outlines $50 million in spending cuts to help Kansas avert a budget deficit.

Brownback spokeswoman Eileen Hawley confirmed Tuesday that the governor won't be in his office. Budget director Shawn Sullivan will outline the cuts during a news conference planned for Friday. Hawley declined to discuss the governor's planned whereabouts.

Sean Sandefur file photo

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a bill giving him more discretion in making some budget cuts during the next fiscal year while protecting aid to public schools.

The Republican governor signed the measure Tuesday. It will remain in effect only during the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Stephen Koranda / File Photo

Gov. Sam Brownback says he is "very disappointed" in the Kansas House's failure to pass a tax plan, but he still is focused on filling the state's looming budget deficit through tax increases rather than budget cuts.

Brownback described the House Thursday as "fractured," but he said he still thinks a compromise can be reached. Legislators are at an impasse over tax and spending proposals aimed at filling a projected $406 million shortfall in the fiscal year beginning July.

Stephen Koranda file photo

Tax negotiators from the Kansas House have presented a new agreement that they hope can pass the chamber and move the Legislature towards ending the 2015 session.

The proposal is close to a plan already approved by the Senate. It relies mostly on increasing the sales tax and eliminating tax deductions to balance the budget.

The House’s plan does adjust some controversial policy pieces in the Senate bill, including softening a cap on local property tax increases.

Gov. Sam Brownback's budget director says state hospitals for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled and the agency that runs them could lose a total of nearly $46 million if lawmakers don't increase taxes.

Budget Director Shawn Sullivan said Tuesday that the state Department for Aging and Disability Services would lose $41 million during the fiscal year beginning July 1. Its four hospitals would lose nearly $5 million.

Michael B. / flickr Creative Commons

The seven largest school districts in Kansas would lose a total of $67 million in state aid if Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is forced to cut spending $400 million because legislators don't pass tax increases.

The state Department of Education says Wichita would lose $22 million of the aid it has been promised for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Budget Director Shawn Sullivan has said an across-the-board cut in spending would be Brownback's most likely option if lawmakers don't increase taxes to balance the next budget. Schools would lose a total of $197 million.

Stephen Koranda

Kansas House members could balance the next state budget by approving a bill to increase sales and cigarette taxes. The Senate's vote Sunday night was 21-17 to approve the measure.

The House could vote on the tax plan today; it's the 109th day of the legislative session, now the longest in state history.

Each extra day of the session has cost the state more than $40,000. Lawmakers traditionally schedule their sessions to last 90 days.

Passage by the House would send the measure to Governor Sam Brownback.

Stephen Koranda

Kansans will pay higher sales and cigarette taxes under a tax plan approved by a single vote Sunday in the state Senate. The tax increases are needed to balance the state budget. But as Jim McLean reports, the House hasn’t yet considered the plan. That vote is scheduled for Monday afternoon.