Sam Brownback

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

Gov. Sam Brownback has named Kansas' top revenue official to an economic advisory post and replaced him with a retired executive of a Wichita marketing and advertising agency.

Brownback announced on Monday that former state lawmaker Nick Jordan has been appointed to lead the governor's Economic Advisory Council with the Kansas Department of Commerce.  Jordan has been the state's revenue secretary since Brownback took office in 2011.

 

Dole Institute of Politics / Facebook

The political landscape is changing at the Kansas Statehouse. When the session starts in January, more Democrats and more moderate-leaning Republicans will fill seats in the state Legislature. They’ll also face two big challenges: filling a $350 million budget hole and writing a new funding formula for public schools.

Last week, lawmakers, reporters and political party officials sat down at the Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas to talk about the fall election and discuss what effects it might have on Kansas.

@GovSamBrownback Twitter

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is giving few hints regarding his plan for fixing the Kansas budget shortfall. The state faces a $350 million deficit in the current fiscal year and an additional budget gap next year.

The governor will unveil his Kansas spending plan in January. Brownback told reporters at an event Tuesday that he isn’t working with lawmakers on crafting the proposal, and he wouldn’t give any specifics about what he’s considering.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Kansas plans to expand high-speed internet and wireless access to all public schools across the state through a program that could cost up to $100 million.

Kansas has partnered with the California-based nonprofit EducationSuperHighway and will use state and federal funds to help pay for the technology upgrades.

Jim McLean

A comprehensive study of KanCare, Kansas’ privatized Medicaid program, says while it has come close to meeting cost-cutting goals, it has burdened providers and failed to significantly improve the care for the more than 400,000 low-income and disabled Kansans it covers.

The study was done for several Kansas provider organization by a consulting firm run by former Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Kansas officials have lowered the forecast for future tax collections by hundreds of millions of dollars, creating a bleak budget picture. The state now faces a $350 million deficit in the current fiscal year and a nearly $600 million budget gap in the next fiscal year.

Sometimes when the revenue estimate is lowered, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback immediately announces cuts to balance the budget. Brownback’s budget director, Shawn Sullivan, says they aren’t doing that this time.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas is preparing for a new fiscal forecast for state government that is expected to be more pessimistic in projecting the state's tax collections than the current one.

State officials, legislative researchers and university economists were meeting Thursday to draft revised projections for tax collections through June 2017. They also planned to issue the first projections for the following two years.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, his staff and legislators use the numbers in budgeting. The current forecast was issued in April.

Stephen Koranda, file photo / KPR

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says he’s serving on the transition team for President-elect Donald Trump, but Kobach says he’s not angling for a job in the Trump administration.

Right now, Kobach says his focus is helping Trump’s team develop immigration policy proposals.

“Trying to put together a to-do list for the Trump team when they take office in January. The first 100 days, what’s going to get done, what are the top priorities, what are the orders that things should occur,” Kobach says.

Kobach says he is open to the idea of working for Trump.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

For Ashlyn Harcrow, the sound of the train whistle brings up all kinds of thoughts she’d like to avoid. Harcrow, 24, has been living at the Topeka Rescue Mission since July.

The nonprofit homeless shelter has helped her stabilize as she recovers from domestic violence and tries to improve her mental health amid post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The election next week seems likely to shift the ideology of the Kansas Legislature. It appears there could be more Democrats and centrist-leaning Republicans. Stephen Koranda reports on how the governor and these new lawmakers might get along.

Gov. Sam Brownback told reporters this week that he would work with the new Kansas legislature, even if it’s ideologically different from now. Brownback points out how he worked with the previous moderate leadership in the Senate several years ago.

Pages