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Archive for Tuesday, May 1, 2001

City, county fear worst in state cuts

May 1, 2001

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Under a bill passed Friday by the Kansas House, the state would keep taxes collected on alcohol sales instead of passing the money back to local governments. The plan would help the state make up $15 million of a projected $206 million shortfall in state revenues.

Assistant City Manager Dave Corliss said the plan would deprive the city of about $1 million in expected revenues, used for the city's general fund, parks projects and alcohol-treatment programs.

"We were very concerned and we have voiced our concerns to our legislators," Corliss said. "They know that it's an important revenue source for the city."

Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug said the county would lose $36,000 under the plan. Both Corliss and Weinaug said the action would put the burden on local governments to choose between cutting services or raising taxes.

"Pure and simple, it's putting us in the position of having to do their dirty work," Weinaug said.

Corliss said he was "cautiously optimistic" the plan won't become law. Kansas House and Senate leaders met Monday in a conference committee to work out differences between their two budget bills. The conference committee met Monday but did nothing to restore the funding cut by the House.

But Weinaug said that state cuts in other areas would put pressure on local governments to make up the costs of funding services.

"Who knows what's going to come out of that conference committee?" he said.

-- Staff writer Joel Mathis can be reached at 832-7126.

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