Sam Brownback

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback laid out new policy proposals and budget plans during his State of the State address Tuesday. Even though Kansas faces a budget deficit adding up to almost a billion dollars by next year, the governor began his speech by showcasing some of the state's strong points. KPR's Stephen Koranda reports.

Gage Skidmore, flickr Creative Commons

Gov. Sam Brownback will lay out his legislative priorities at 5 p.m. in his annual State of the State Address. As Stephen Koranda reports, it’s likely the governor will outline broad goals, but may not offer many specifics.

In recent years, Gov. Brownback has used the speech to focus on a few main themes and accomplishments, like defending his tax cuts.

Tonight, he may provide some new clues about his spending plans. So far, he’s only said his budget proposal will be balanced and will include both revenue measures and budget cuts.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Kansas lawmakers wasted no time getting down to business on the first day of the 2017 legislative session. House tax committee members met and introduced their first tax proposal Monday afternoon.

The bill would repeal an income tax exemption for more than 300,000 Kansas businesses to help balance the state budget in the face of a deficit. Republican Steven Johnson, the committee’s chairman, said they’ll also be considering other ideas.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The Kansas Legislature begins its new session today. State lawmakers face several big challenges this year, like filling a huge budget hole and writing a new school funding formula. As Stephen Koranda reports, many new leaders and lawmakers will be working to tackle these issues.

Andy Marso / KCUR

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback unveiled a two-part plan Friday to bring more doctors to the state and quell health care shortages that he said threaten to kill rural communities.

Brownback, flanked by Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, a hospital executive and the head of the Kansas Farm Bureau, harkened back to his days growing up in Parker — population 250 — to personalize the push for more rural doctors.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas lawmakers have the tall order of writing a new school funding formula this year. There’s already some agreement between the governor and the organization representing school boards: They don’t want the current funding system extended.

Kansas legislators threw out the old school funding formula in 2015 and replaced it with block grants set to expire this year.

Some lawmakers are concerned they might get bogged down writing a new formula and end up extending the block grants. Gov. Sam Brownback says he’s not in favor of that.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

For the last two months, Kansas has met its state tax collection targets. That hasn’t happened for quite some time. Some state officials think it might be the start of a trend, while others aren’t so sure.

After the state lowered its revenue estimate, Kansas met the new forecast for November and December. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning told the Topeka Capital- Journal that he thinks Kansas now has a handle on the revenue numbers and will be consistently hitting them.

Gov. Sam Brownback says he sees some positive signs, but he isn’t as upbeat as Denning.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor/File photo

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback said Wednesday that he's not rethinking his support for a Kansas law that will allow concealed guns on state college campuses starting in July, despite opposition from faculty, students and administrators.

A law enacted by the GOP-controlled Legislature and signed by Brownback in 2013 expanded the rights of gun owners age 21 and older to carry concealed weapons into public buildings. It allowed state universities and community colleges to exempt themselves for four years.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File Photo

Gov. Sam Brownback isn’t giving details on the Kansas budget plan he’ll present to lawmakers next month, but he has offered a few hints and suggestions on what the state should do.

Lawmakers will have to close budget gaps in the current and coming fiscal year.

Brownback says his plan will include both cuts and revenue to balance the budget. He also says Kansas will need both short- and long-term fixes to get the state out of the red.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas lawmakers have some major issues to tackle in the next legislative session, and one of their top challenges will be writing a new school funding formula.

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