Kansas budget

Stephen Koranda

Governor Sam Brownback has presented lawmakers with an amended budget plan following the release of sharply lowered estimates for Kansas tax collections. The proposal would save around $100 million over the next two years, which only puts a dent in a budget shortfall of around $400 million. Stephen Koranda reports.

The proposal uses cost savings from the Medicaid program and from cheaper than expected debt payments. It also increases a fee paid by Kansas health care providers. Shawn Sullivan is Governor Brownback’s budget director.

Stephen Koranda file photo

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.

Stephen Koranda

A Kansas panel has endorsed a $6.4 billion-dollar budget that will not balance without tax increases.

The House Appropriations Committee approved the plan on Tuesday.

The budget would fall about $133 million dollars short if the Legislature does not increase taxes on alcohol and cigarettes as Governor Sam Brownback has recommended.

Representative Virgil Peck said that he would not support a budget that increases spending without having secured the revenues to pay for it.

Stephen Koranda

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.

Stephen Koranda

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.

A committee in the Kansas House has advanced a plan to balance the current fiscal year’s budget. 

The bill transfers money from sources like the state highway fund, and makes other changes, to help fill a budget hole. 

But as Stephen Koranda reports, lawmakers decided not to take as much as originally planned from a fund for kids’ programs.

The original plan took all $14 million out of the Kansas Endowment for Youth to help close the state’s budget gap. But lawmakers amended that to leave $2.5 million in the fund.

Bugsy, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas House members will debate a bill Tuesday that aims to eliminate a projected shortfall of more than $330 million dollars in the state's current budget.

The bill would mostly divert highway funds and shift other funds around to patch holes in the funding for general government programs.

The shortfall is in the state's main bank account.

The state's budget problems arose after lawmakers aggressively cut personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013, at Gov. Sam Brownback's urging, to stimulate the economy.

The current budget runs through June.

Stephen Koranda file photo

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.

Stephen Koranda

The group Kansas Action for Children is protesting Governor Brownback's proposal to use money from a children's fund to help cover a budget shortfall.

The money comes from the 1990s tobacco settlement payments and is used for programs including Early Head Start.

Stephen Koranda reports on the proposal to help close a gap in the current fiscal year's budget.

Brownback Budget Director Shawn Sullivan says this doesn't include any cuts to current children’s programs.

Stephen Koranda

Kansas lawmakers are just beginning the job of reviewing and modifying Governor Sam Brownback’s tax and budget plan.

The governor’s proposal slows scheduled income tax cuts and reduces spending to help fill a budget shortfall.

Republican state Senator Ty Masterson chairs that chamber’s budget committee. He says after revenue collections came up short of predictions, it’s prudent to adjust the tax cuts.