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Archive for Saturday, May 26, 2001

Graves signs final budget legislation

Governor vetoes 22 items along the way

May 26, 2001

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— Gov. Bill Graves signed the year's final budget bill Friday, using his veto power 22 times to correct "shortfalls" in spending for fiscal year 2002, which begins July 1.

"Overall, this bill effectively deals with the financial needs of Kansas during the next fiscal year," Graves said in a statement. "But there were several areas of fiscal and public policy that fell short in this legislation."

The budget and several bills already signed by Graves were part of a package drafted to close a $206 million gap between expected revenues and spending during fiscal 2002.

Among the biggest losers was the Kansas Department of Transportation.

The budget was built on the assumption the Legislature would begin sooner than planned a 1-cent tax on motor fuels for the comprehensive transportation program.

The tax would have raised $16.4 million, which would have been offset by an equal reduction in the transfer of state revenues from the general fund.

The idea died in the House, thus leaving a hole in transportation budget. A separate bill allowing KDOT to sell more bonds was approved, resulting in $20 million less in state funds being used.

However, because of the way the budget bill was written, Graves had to veto the entire line dealing with KDOT, including the $20 million. The governor said he would ask lawmakers to restore the cuts in January.

The governor also vetoed transfers of fees collected by several state agencies to the general fund.

Graves restored both a 1.5 percent state employee pay raise in January 2002 and funding for the state worker longevity bonuses.

He also restored $850,000 for the Kansas Water Plan.

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