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Kansas lawmakers moving quickly to balance state budget

Associated Press - January 30, 2016 1:12 pm

A top Democratic lawmaker says he is joining the crowded race to replace Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. House Minority Leader Jim Ward of Wichita announced his candidacy Saturday. He had named former Democratic Party chairman Lee Kinch as his campaign treasurer earlier this week.

Republican leaders expect two Kansas legislative committees to approve plans next week for closing a projected $190 million deficit in the state’s next budget.

The House Appropriations and Senate Ways and Means committees will be starting from GOP Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposals for juggling funds and capturing unanticipated savings.

Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce said the goal is for the Republican-dominated Legislature to finish work on a budget-balancing plan by the end of February.

GOP leaders said closing the budget shortfall quickly will allow lawmakers to focus on fixing long-term inefficiencies in state government.

Legislators in both parties worry that budget work will be complicated by month-to-month revenue shortfalls. For 2014 and 2015, tax collections fell short of expectations most months; officials learn Monday how the state fared in January.

Larry Elmquist

January 30, 2016 at 9:13 pm

Your report of the governor and legislature “juggling funds” reminds me of big red noses and big, big yellow shoes. Don’t get me wrong; being a clown is a noble profession, but clowns shouldn’t be legislators and legislators should NOT be clowns.

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