Topeka Will the $466 million, three-year school funding increase break the state budget?
Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Barnett says it will. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, says it won't.
The major assumption Barnett uses is that the state will experience 4 percent growth in tax receipts annually for the next several years. And that all other spending priorities remain constant.
Under that scenario, the state general fund would be anywhere from $200 million to $500 million short in 2009, according to figures provided by the Kansas Legislative Research Department.
That 4 percent growth rate is a standard one used by state budget officials, but that standard rate is rarely correct, and it is frequently adjusted as more real information becomes available.
In the past three fiscal years, state tax receipts have increased 5.9 percent, 7.6 percent and most recently 12.9 percent.
Another budget scenario pushed by supporters of the school plan assumes state tax receipts will grow 5.5 percent per year.
It also adds into the budget's base the fact that unpredicted growth during the past 14 months has added another $100 million to the state's all purpose general fund.
Under those assumptions, the state general fund would stay above the deficit line, but not by much - $34 million.
Of course, there are other ways to avoid shortfalls, such as cutting the budget in other areas, finding savings through efficiencies, reducing the amount of tax cuts approved this year, raising taxes or finding other methods of increasing revenue, such as the proposal to expand casino gambling.