Kansas budget

Kansas News Service

Kansas legislators hit adjournment Friday with some big tasks left for their wrap-up session that starts May 1.

At the top of the list is a tax and budget plan, which largely will be influenced by the amount of school funding that legislators decide to add in light of the Kansas Supreme Court’s ruling last month. In the health policy arena, Medicaid expansion supporters are regrouping after the governor’s veto — and holding out hope for another shot this session.

Kansas Health Institute/File photo

Kansas lawmakers have wrapped up the first part of the legislative session and will return to the Statehouse in May.

Legislators did manage to send a bill balancing the budget for the fiscal year that ends in June to the governor, but they haven’t finalized tax and budget plans for 2018 and 2019.

Republican Senate President Susan Wagle said she isn’t frustrated by the slow progress.

“It’s expected. Coming to a compromise, an agreement on a tax package is probably the most difficult thing any state legislature would have to do," she said.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The Kansas Senate has given first-round approval to a proposed spending plan for the next two fiscal years.

It includes raises for many state employees in Kansas, and it would shift money to restore some of the higher education cuts put in place last year. Republican Carolyn McGinn said they increase spending only in some targeted ways.

“The committee did a wonderful job in trying to hold the line. There’s a lot of need out there in our state. We’ve had a number of cuts,” McGinn said.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas House and Senate negotiators have reached a compromise to balance the current year’s budget without cuts to state services. They have been facing a shortfall for the budget year ending in June of nearly $300 million.

The budget agreement would delay a payment into the Kansas pension plan, KPERS. It would also borrow some money from a state investment fund.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The Kansas Senate is likely to debate a budget proposal this week, and House lawmakers could also make progress on their spending plan. But there’s one hitch: Both budgets are unbalanced.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The Kansas Senate has approved a budget-balancing plan for the current fiscal year that avoids cuts to state services. The 27-13 vote advances the bill to negotiations between the House and Senate.

Senators spent much of the debate considering whether they should use cuts to help close a nearly $300 million budget gap. They eventually rejected three proposals to make spending cuts.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas legislators advanced a new budget-balancing plan Tuesday aimed at allowing the state to pay its bills through June without cutting spending on public schools while it waits for new revenue from raising taxes to flow.

The state Senate Ways and Means Committee unanimously endorsed a bill to authorize internal government borrowing and temporarily short contributions to public employees' pensions to cover a gap in its current budget, for the fiscal year ending June 30. The full Senate expects to debate the bill Thursday.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

The top Democrat in the Kansas Senate says he believes lawmakers are off-track and haven’t made enough progress on big issues facing the state. Legislators have been in session almost 40 days, and Sen. Anthony Hensley says they haven’t done enough to erase a budget deficit and write a new school funding system.

“The Legislature over the years has wasted time, but I’ve never seen anything like this when we have such significant issues on the table that we have to deal with,” Hensley says.

Stephen Koranda

The Kansas Senate voted almost unanimously Tuesday to kill Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax proposal. The 37-1 vote sends a message to the governor: Senate leaders want new tax and budget options.

Recently, leaders in the Kansas Senate have been frustrated with the governor’s proposal, which relies largely on increasing business filing fees and taxes on tobacco and alcohol.

Senate President Susan Wagle says she doesn’t like the plan because she says it won’t put the state on solid financial ground. She accuses the governor of not taking the state’s budget deficit seriously.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

Editor's note: This post was updated at 5:18 p.m.

Kansas tax receipts came in about $37 million above estimates in February, chipping away at the state’s budget deficit.

The Kansas Budget Office on Wednesday reported about $331.5 million in tax receipts for the month, which was about 13 percent higher than projected revenue. Tax revenues were up about 9 percent compared to February 2016.

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