Kansas budget

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

An unusual coalition of lawmakers helped soundly defeat a bill that would have repealed a tax exemption for Kansas businesses. The tax policy allows more than 300,000 Kansas businesses to avoid paying income taxes. Republican Representative Sue Boldra called the repeal effort a step in the right direction.

“It’s not the whole pie, as many of us desire, but certainly this is enough to right our ship of state and get a handle on our budget,” Boldra said.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Kansas lawmakers struggled over the weekend, working late nights as they tried to craft a budget solution. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, they ultimately approved a plan in the early hours of Monday morning.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas lawmakers will return to the Statehouse this week and they'll be looking for ways to erase a budget deficit. Part of that discussion could focus on business taxes. As KPR's Stephen Koranda reports, some legislators say it's time to reconsider a tax policy that lets thousands of business owners pay no state income tax.

Republican Sen. Jim Denning is one of the Kansas lawmakers saying the business tax exemption needs to be rolled back or modified. Denning says he’s tired of budget solutions he sees as one-time fixes.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Leaders in the Kansas Statehouse are hoping to avoid a repeat of last year’s session, which went into overtime by more than 20 days.

This week, legislators began reviewing Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposals to erase a budget shortfall. Republican Rep. Ron Ryckman says they’re trying to familiarize themselves with the issues before the session resumes.

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 / Kansas Public Radio/File Photo

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.

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