Kansas budget

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

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.

Stephen Koranda

A new revenue forecast shows Kansas needs to cut $279 million dollars to balance the current fiscal year's budget.

A $436 million-dollar deficit is ahead for the coming fiscal year.

Governor Sam Brownback says tax cuts he pushed would cause lower collections in the short term, but the revenues will rebound as the state's economy grows.

The governor's budget director, Shawn Sullivan, agrees.

State lawmakers have drafted a budget deal that includes a bonus for state workers.

Three senators and three House members agreed Thursday on budget legislation. They shook a gloomy state revenue report and ignored that the state’s bond rating has been downgraded by Moody’s Investor Services.

The proposal now includes $11 million dollars to give the state’s nearly 38,000 state employees a one-time, $250 bonus.

The budget agreement also preserves guaranteed longevity bonuses for employees with at least 10 years in state government.