Kansas budget

Stephen Koranda, File Photo / KPR

Governor Brownback’s office pitched three budget-balancing options to Kansas lawmakers this week, but it doesn’t look like legislative leaders are planning to rubber stamp any of the proposals. 

The chair of the Senate’s budget-writing committee, Republican Ty Masterson, says he doesn’t believe any of the three will be approved by lawmakers.

“These are just three options the governor produced. We’re going to look at them, evaluate them. I’m sure none of the three will come out exactly as he’s intended them. Could be a combination of the three,” Masterson says.

Wichita Public Schools

Wichita Public Schools is considering ending this school year early. KMUW’s Abigail Wilson reports that members of the Board of Education will discuss the potential change at a regular meeting Monday night.

USD 259 is considering ending the school year for students on Friday, May 20, instead of the currently scheduled Tuesday, May 24. That would save the district approximately $400,000. The savings would then be applied to the nearly $23 million that needs to be cut from the districts budget to balance costs and expenditures for next year.

Dave Ranney, Heartland Health Monitor

The head of a Kansas advocacy group opposes a plan to sell off part of a tobacco lawsuit settlement. The annual payments from the settlement fund children’s programs.

The proposal from Gov. Sam Brownback would sell off part of the payments in exchange for immediate cash to help the state fix a budget shortfall. Shannon Cotsoradis, with the group Kansas Action for Children, calls it a short-term solution.

Jimmy Everson, DVM, flickr Creative Commons

The state of Kansas reduced its revenue projections for this fiscal year and the next by $228.6 million, further increasing the state's budget deficit. As a result, Gov. Sam Brownback proposed three plans for erasing the shortfall, one of which affects K-12 education.

The plan would cut spending to public schools, universities and most state agencies by nearly $140 million. Cuts ranging from 3 percent to 5 percent would reduce funding for school districts across the state by more than $57 million.

Stephen Koranda, File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

Estimates for Kansas tax collections were ratcheted down sharply yesterday. The state’s projected revenues dropped by a quarter-billion dollars over the next year-and-a-half. That leaves Kansas with a budget deficit. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing plans for erasing the shortfall.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

A handful of university economists and state officials are meeting behind closed doors in Topeka today. Their objective is to come up with an accurate estimate of how much tax revenue Kansas will collect over the next year.

It’s a process the state has used since the late 70s for budgeting purposes--but it’s suddenly become controversial.

The last time the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group met, the news wasn’t good.

Stephen Koranda, File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas lawmakers will learn this week how the state’s finances are shaping up. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, new revenue numbers will be unveiled Wednesday.

The revenue numbers project how much Kansas will collect in taxes, and that information tells lawmakers how much they have to spend.

The Legislature actually already approved a state budget, but it was more of a preliminary plan. They suspected they would need to do more work, and the new revenue numbers will tell them how hard that work will be.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Selling bonds to generate a large amount of cash from the state’s tobacco settlement remains a budget balancing option. But there appears to be growing opposition to the idea in the Legislature.

State budget director Shawn Sullivan says no deal is under discussion. But he says trading years of steady tobacco payments for hundreds of millions in up-front cash remains an option if the state’s budget problems continue to worsen.

But opposition to the idea appears to be growing on both sides of the legislative aisle.

On Tuesday, Gov. Sam Brownback ordered state budget reductions in response to lower-than-expected tax collections. That included a 3 percent, or about $17 million, cut to higher education in Kansas that will take place over the next four months.

Stephen Koranda

Tax collections in Kansas were more than $50 million short of estimates last month. That puts the state back into a budget deficit. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, the numbers prompted the governor to announce a cut to university budgets.

Kansas came up short on individual income, corporate income and sales tax collections.

Pages