Sam Brownback

Ervins Strauhmanis, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas is kicking off a new fiscal year Wednesday. The state wrapped up last fiscal year with tax collections coming in $22 million below estimates in June. State lawmakers didn't plan on a big savings account in this new fiscal year, and that makes the monthly revenue numbers critical.

Kansas lawmakers cut taxes several years ago. This year, they raised taxes and made cuts to balance the budget, but those changes still leave a state savings account estimated at under $100 million at the end of our new fiscal year.

Stephen Koranda file photo

An advocacy group in Kansas is relieved that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a key part of the federal health care overhaul, but members of the state's congressional delegation say they'll still push for its repeal.

The high court on Thursday upheld health insurance subsidies for millions of consumers who purchased their coverage through a federal online marketplace. Kansas refused to set up its own exchange under the 2010 law.

Stephen Koranda file photo

Kansas already had the ninth-most regressive tax system in the nation, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

The tax increase signed last week by Gov. Sam Brownback to balance the budget and end the longest legislative session in state history will make the system less fair to low- and middle-income Kansans, said Matt Gardner, executive director of the nonpartisan think tank based in Washington, D.C.

Dave Ranney, Heartland Health Monitor

When the 2015 legislative session started in January, public health advocates had reason to be optimistic they could reach some of their most ambitious goals.

The Kansas Hospital Association was ramping up efforts to expand Medicaid coverage to about 100,000 uninsured Kansans with the political implications of the 2014 election over.

Newly re-elected Gov. Sam Brownback had proposed to almost triple the state cigarette tax — a prospect that won quick support from groups that fight cancer and heart disease.

Kansas Legislature

A Democratic legislator says Kansas lawmakers need to rewrite campaign finance laws to close what he sees as a loophole involving loans by candidates to their own campaigns.

Democratic Rep. Jim Ward of Wichita called for a review of campaign finance laws Wednesday. His comments came after the U.S. attorney's office in Kansas said it expected no federal criminal charges to be filed from an investigation of loans by Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer to his and Gov. Sam Brownback's re-election campaign.

Gage Skidmore, flickr Creative Commons

Governor Sam Brownback is defending the tax package passed by the state Legislature in the final hours of its 113-day session. Jim McLean has more.

From the Associated Press:

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback said Tuesday that Kansas isn't really increasing taxes even though the state will raise its sales and cigarette taxes to balance the budget.

Sean Sandefur file photo

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a bill giving him more discretion in making some budget cuts during the next fiscal year while protecting aid to public schools.

The Republican governor signed the measure Tuesday. It will remain in effect only during the fiscal year that begins July 1.

thinkpanama, flickr Creative Commons

Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a bill that allows the state to change controversial limits on the amount of money welfare recipients could withdraw from ATMs.

The bill does not eliminate the restriction. It allows the secretary of the Department for Children and Families to increase or eliminate the $25-per-day limit on ATM withdrawals with a state cash assistance card.

Stephen Koranda

Governor Sam Brownback says he supports a tax plan passed by the Kansas Senate and he’s now urging House members to approve the bill. Lawmakers have approved a budget but need to pass a tax bill to fund the budget before the session can end.

Brownback calls the tax plan passed by the Senate a good proposal.

“It’s been thoroughly discussed and it’s past time to get this done and move it forward. Yes, I will sign it,” Brownback says.

Mel Green, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is preparing to sign bills to change the timing of many local elections and to give the secretary of state the power to prosecute election fraud cases.

Brownback was having a signing ceremony Monday at the Statehouse.

One bill moves city and local school board elections from the spring to the fall of odd-numbered years. Supporters contend the change will boost turnout.

Critics say the change will be disruptive and that there are other ways to increase voter participation, including voting by mail.

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