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Archive for Monday, November 23, 2009

Budget cuts expected to be announced today

November 23, 2009

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— Sources indicate that today is when Gov. Mark Parkinson will publicly announce his cuts to balance the current fiscal year budget amid perhaps the worst state government revenue crisis since the Great Depression.

Nearly five months into the fiscal year, the budget is facing a $260 million shortfall that Parkinson has said he will mend with more cuts that could involve furloughs of state employees.

State government has already been cut several times this year by the Legislature and one additional time by Parkinson when the fiscal year started July 1.

In past comments, Parkinson has said he wants to spare social services and public safety from further reductions because he felt those areas have already been cut as much as possible without doing severe harm to necessary programs.

That leaves education, both public schools and higher education, as a primary target, along with the possibility of unpaid furloughs of state employees.

In remarks to the Kansas Board of Regents last week, Parkinson’s budget director, Duane Goossen, said, “Immediate reductions are coming, and we are going to have to live with those for a while and probably even go lower in order to stay balanced.”

Parkinson has said he will consider proposing tax increases to make up revenue problems when the Legislature starts its 2010 session in January. House Republican leaders have been opposed to tax increases.

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