Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says he isn’t concerned by budget bills in the House and Senate that aren’t balanced. The chambers are considering bills that would require a tax increase to keep the state out of the red. That comes after lawmakers cut taxes in recent years. As Stephen Koranda reports, Brownback fielded some questions about the budget at an event in Topeka on Monday.
Brownback does not seem phased by the budget bills. He says lawmakers will fill the deficit, like the Kansas Constitution requires.
A Kansas House committee is reviewing Governor Sam Brownback's proposal to issue $1.5 billion dollars in bonds, to help lower the state's annual costs in funding pensions for teachers and government workers.
The House Pensions and Benefits Committee's focus today is on a bill authorizing the bonds if the state would pay interest of 5 percent or less to bondholders.
The Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, or KPERS, has a projected long-term funding gap of $9.8 billion dollars, and the state has committed to raising annual contributions to eliminate it by 2033.
The Kansas House has passed a bill that will eliminate most of a $300 million budget shortfall in the current fiscal year. The legislation mostly relies on diverting funds from other parts of state government, including money from the state highway fund, to close the budget gap.
Several Republicans said they were voting “yes” but with reservations. They also called for revamping tax cuts passed in recent years. Representative Barbara Bollier is from Mission Hills.
Gov. Sam Brownback and his top aides can't predict when Kansas will meet his stated goal of eliminating income taxes, now that he has slowed the implementation of promised reductions to stave off predicted budget cuts.