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Archive for Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Kansas legislators begin work on $328 million budget hole

Legislators, state officials, lobbyists and others fill up room as House Appropriations Committee starts the task of writing a final state budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. A deep recession has reduced revenue to state coffers. The full Legislature meets for the wrap-up session April 29.

Legislators, state officials, lobbyists and others fill up room as House Appropriations Committee starts the task of writing a final state budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. A deep recession has reduced revenue to state coffers. The full Legislature meets for the wrap-up session April 29.

April 21, 2009, 10:51 a.m. Updated April 21, 2009, 2:24 p.m.

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Alan Conroy, director of the Kansas Legislative Research Department, briefs House Appropriations Committee members Tuesday on the depth of state's revenue shortfall. Conroy projected negative growth in state domestic product and personal income for 2009 -- the first time since the Great Depression. In the background listening is state Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, and a member of the Appropriations panel.

Alan Conroy, director of the Kansas Legislative Research Department, briefs House Appropriations Committee members Tuesday on the depth of state's revenue shortfall. Conroy projected negative growth in state domestic product and personal income for 2009 -- the first time since the Great Depression. In the background listening is state Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, and a member of the Appropriations panel.

Leaders of House Appropriations Committee confer prior to start-up of Tuesday's meeting. Bill Feuerborn (left) of Garnett is the ranking Democrat and Kevin Yoder (right), R-Overland Park, is the committee chair. The committee is crafting a budget in light of a recently announced $328 million deficit.

Leaders of House Appropriations Committee confer prior to start-up of Tuesday's meeting. Bill Feuerborn (left) of Garnett is the ranking Democrat and Kevin Yoder (right), R-Overland Park, is the committee chair. The committee is crafting a budget in light of a recently announced $328 million deficit.

— In just a few months, the Kansas economy has gone from bad to worse, and the fear is that it could continue to slide, officials said Tuesday.

“This will be the longest and deepest recession in 70 years,” Alan Conroy, director of the Kansas Legislative Research Department, told House budget writers who started meeting to tackle the state budget crises.

Last week, state financial experts revised the revenue projections for the fiscal year that starts July 1, and they estimated that revenue for the recently approved $13 billion budget would fall $328 million short.

And that deficit could grow, officials warned.

A revenue estimate in November, while ratcheted downward, indicated that Kansas would not suffer as much as some states in the national recession because of high energy prices and aircraft manufacturing.

Those two areas have taken a nosedive, however, and Kansas’ economy has followed.

“There is concern that this could slip further,” said House Appropriations Chairman Kevin Yoder, R-Overland Park.

That leaves lawmakers with a $328 million shortfall, which will require about $450 million to provide a reserve should tax revenues continue to fall short.

Budget committees will work this week in preparation for the return of the full Legislature on April 29 for its wrap-up session.

In early comments, Republicans and Democrats seemed to agree to prevent any further cuts to human services. With that in mind, bridging the budget hole through cuts alone in the rest of the budget would require about a 9 percent across-the-board cut.

Rep. Bill Feuerborn, D-Garnett, requested that the committee introduce a bill that would suspend the phase-out of several tax cuts, including the inheritance tax and corporate franchise tax.

“I feel it is very important to get the tax policy changes on the same road as our cuts in the budget,” Feuerborn said. The committee approved introducing such a bill.

Comments

bobberboy 4 years, 12 months ago

Public employees already make 25-40 % less than the same jobs in the private sector. I think we should cut salaries or raise taxes on all private sector employees - I know you say that would be tough but hey it just may need to be done for a few years. I'd start with the CEO's, you know, the ones that make over a million plus a year first and then work my way down. Scale down salaries for all private workers or just raise their taxes slowly so they don't even notice. Sound good justthefacts ?

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justthefacts 4 years, 12 months ago

Cut salaries. If the state employees want to keep their jobs (and not get laid off or furloughed), and we want the work to continue being done, cutting salaries is the logical option. Sure, cut back on unneccesary things too (e.g. are the renovations at the capital building really necessary right now?? And how many state agencies pay for coffee for all employees and guests?). But giving people a 10% pay cut, painful as it might be, until this crises is better it is a whole lot less painful to get less pay then to lose a job all together (and having to pay unemployment compensation). Scale it by % of income - with those who make the most taking the biggest % cut. But cut salaries, not jobs.

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justthefacts 4 years, 12 months ago

Cut salaries. If the state employees want to keep their jobs (and not get laid off or furloughed), and we want the work to continue being done, cutting salaries is the logical option. Sure, cut back on unneccesarry things too (e.g. are the renovations at the capital building really necessary right now?? And how many state agencies pay for coffee for all employees and guests?). But giving people a 10% pay cut, painful as it might be, until this crises is better is a whole lot less painful then losing a job all together (and having to pay unemployment compensation). Scale it by % of income - with those who make the most taking the biggest % cut. But cut salaries, not jobs.

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KSManimal 4 years, 12 months ago

"Maybe we need to start by cutting that which we have, so far, refused to cut."

Like, for example, the huge corporate tax cuts that got us into this mess to begin with.

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ocean 4 years, 12 months ago

why not tax gun ammunition?

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avoice 4 years, 12 months ago

Maybe we need to start by cutting that which we have, so far, refused to cut.

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bobberboy 4 years, 12 months ago

And just think most these idiots (Republicans) have been cutting taxes now for serveral years all while the economy was doing well. I guess none of them ever heard the commom sense term "save something for a rainy day" - now look at the mess we're in.

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XD40 5 years ago

Education spending must be closely examined both for the current and the next few budget cycles. A year from now we'll be facing the same problems and there will be no federal funds to stop the gaps in local funding. The size and cost of state government -- including education -- must be reduced.

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bobberboy 5 years ago

Cut all State operations back to four 10 hour days.

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