Archive for Monday, April 16, 2007

Revenue estimates to determine funding for state programs

April 16, 2007


What's next

Today - Budget experts meet to come up with a final revenue estimate for lawmakers to have before they complete the state budget process.

9 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday - House Appropriations Committee meets to work on final budget bill

8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday - Senate Ways and Means Committee meets to work on final budget bill.

April 25 - Full Legislature returns for wrap-up session.

— For Kansans who are on waiting lists for health care assistance or attending technical schools, the Legislature's work isn't done by a long shot.

Before starting a three-week break earlier this month, lawmakers approved a $12.3 billion budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1, but that action didn't include scores of budget decisions that they couldn't reach agreement on.

Today, budget experts meet to make a final estimate on incoming revenue so legislators know how much they can appropriate.

And starting Tuesday, key budget committees will begin work on those unfinished issues in hopes of coming up with a recommendation for a final spending plan when the full Legislature returns April 25 for the wrap-up session.

While touting successes of the first part of the 2007 legislative session, House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, noted there is still a lot of "heavy lifting" to do.

Democrats say that is the understatement of the year.

"Some of the toughest decisions are going to made in the wrap-up session," House Minority Leader Dennis McKinney, D-Greensburg, said.

Here are several big-ticket items to be settled:

¢ Crumbling classrooms at state universities. The schools say they need about $100 million per year to catch up on a backlog of repairs and maintenance projects worth $663 million.

¢ Waiting lists. Advocates are seeking $10 million in additional funding to take care of Kansans with developmental disabilities who are waiting to receive assistance while they live at home.

¢ Full-day kindergarten. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has proposed $15 million to start a five-year phase-in of all-day kindergarten.

¢ Special education. Another $22 million is needed to cover the increasing costs.

¢ Health care. Sebelius has proposed a $10 million plan to guarantee health care for uninsured children from birth through 5 years. Lawmakers also are looking at $8.8 million to expand dental coverage to all adults in Medicaid.

¢ Disaster aid. Under consideration is $16.4 million to $20.1 million in disaster assistance for western Kansas to fix damage caused by a vicious winter snowstorm.

¢ Vocational and technical schools. Lawmakers have held off on funding the schools until they consider proposals to reform how they are managed.


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