Kansas Officials Divided Over How To Fix State Budget

Republican legislators in Kansas are divided over what proposed fixes from GOP Gov. Sam Brownback they will jettison in closing a shortfall in the state’s current budget.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday began sorting through Brownback’s proposals to close a gap of about $320 million in the budget for the fiscal year that ends June 30.

The governor’s proposals include scaling back contributions to public employee pensions and liquidating a state investment fund. The pension proposal drew heavy bipartisan criticism.

But majority Republicans acknowledged that the alternative to such moves include immediate cuts in aid to public schools.

The task did appear to get a little easier Wednesday when the Department of Revenue reported that Kansas collected $24 million more in taxes than anticipated in January.