state budget

Stephen Koranda, File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

After wrestling to balance the budget for years, Kansas lawmakers bit the bullet this spring and agreed to undo many of Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature 2012 tax cuts.

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A major financial rating agency says a structural imbalance in Kansas' budget is "likely to persist" even after the state increased income taxes.

S&P Global Ratings said in a report this week that while the state boosted its revenues, it also increased spending for the next two years. S&P also said the state still is diverting money from highway projects to sustain other spending and is not fully funding contributions to public pensions.

S&P did not change its negative credit outlook for Kansas.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Gov. Sam Brownback has until Sunday to take action on the Kansas budget approved by lawmakers. His decisions could prompt action on the ceremonial last day of the legislative session.

It’s likely Brownback will sign the budget, but he can block specific items with his line item veto power. Lawmakers also have the power to override those decisions with a two-thirds vote.

Democratic Sen. Anthony Hensley says some line item vetoes could draw override attempts. Those would come on the ceremonial last day of the session, which is Monday.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Negotiators from the Kansas House and Senate are meeting Friday to hammer out a budget compromise. There are significant differences in the House and Senate plans when it comes to state employee raises.

The Senate budget gives most state workers a 2 percent raise. The House plan includes fewer raises that are targeted, including pay hikes for the judicial branch.

Republican Rep. Troy Waymaster says some House members are concerned about the cost of the Senate proposal.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Members of the Kansas House took a step Wednesday towards repealing parts of the 2012 tax cuts championed by Gov. Sam Brownback. The governor quickly responded, saying he would not sign the bill into law.

The House gave preliminary approval to the tax increase with a vote of 83 to 39, one vote shy of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto from the governor.

Jimmy Emerson / Flickr

Members of the Kansas House are scheduled to debate a tax plan Wednesday that would raise income tax rates and repeal an income tax exemption for more than 300,000 business owners. It’s the first tax bill that will be debated by one of the full chambers this year.

Kansas lawmakers are looking at ways to erase budget deficits that total around $1 billion by the middle of 2019. They started cutting taxes several years ago and the bill they’ll debate would undo some of the cuts.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File Photo

The Kansas Senate is setting itself up for a wide-ranging floor debate this week on tax plans to end a series of annual budget deficits by raising more revenue.

Senate Vice President Jeff Longbine said the inability to privately rally 21 votes for a plan means it’s time to get ideas out in the open and see what rises to the top.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

A Kansas House committee has advanced a spending bill that would balance the budget for the current fiscal year without making cuts to education. The House Appropriations Committee voted for a proposal similar to Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan, which would dissolve a state investment fund to close a more than $300 million budget gap.

Republican committee chairman Troy Waymaster calls it “the best of the bad options.” He says the alternative is cutting state services and education, which would be hard to absorb.

Two-Thirds Of States Face Budget Challenges

Jan 17, 2017
Pictures of Money / Flickr Creative Commons

Two-thirds of states across the country -- including Kansas -- are facing budget challenges.

Several states, including Arizona, Minnesota, Utah and New Jersey, are expected to come out ahead financially for the current fiscal year and the upcoming one beginning July 1. But others are projected to have budget shortfalls reaching hundreds of millions -- and in some cases, billions -- of dollars.

North Dakota has a budget hole of about $1.4 billion over the next two years. Oklahoma is expected to fall short by close to $870 million in the upcoming fiscal year.

@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.

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