Budget direction not yet set for Kansas

There is no special session for Kansas lawmakers at this time, despite the state now being millions of dollars in the red and also despite a Kansas Supreme Court ruling demanding more money for K-12 education. And at this time there is no word on whether Gov. Sam Brownback will call lawmakers back after the regular session ended Wednesday.


Work does continue, however, to shore up the latest deficit, a $45 million shortfall after the May tax revenues missed expectations by around $75 million. Both the Topeka Capital-Journal and Wichita Eagle say Eileen Hawley, the governor's spokesperson, has mentioned the state may divert fees held in dozens of special funds into the state's general fund. Spending cuts may be problematic because June 30 is the close of fiscal 2016 and most agencies have either already spent their budgets or are very close to doing so.


Another option that hasn't been mentioned by the governor would be to delay some $320 million in aid payments to schools.


While a plan is formulating on how to proceed with the state's deficit, the third one this year, Gov. Brownback has said retired executive Sam Williams will examine the state's revenue estimating process.


Kansas has already cut highway funds, trimmed higher education spending and delayed payments to the KPERS pension plan to handle the last two shortfalls.


Neither Gov. Brownback nor lawmakers have determined how they plan to address last month's ruling from the Kansas Supreme Court that said the state's block grant funding method is not equitable. The state may have to add $40 million to $50 million to satisfy the court, but some lawmakers have said they want to defy that ruling.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 11 April 2018 09:29