Topeka The Kansas House on Wednesday voted to cut the pay of elected and appointed state officials by 5 percent.
“This amendment sends the message that we are serious” about cutting spending, said Rep. Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, who introduced the proposal.
The measure was added to a budget bill that attempts to close the books on the current fiscal year and ratifies many of Gov. Mark Parkinson’s earlier announced budget cuts. Much bigger budget battles lie ahead.
Since the fiscal year ends June 30, the pay cut annualized amounts to about 1.7 percent, and will save about $1.5 million. It would apply to legislators, judges, appointed state employees and other state officers, including the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, insurance commissioner and cabinet secretaries.
When the bill came to the House floor, it contained an 11-percent cut to the Legislature, but that was reduced and expanded to more people under Neufeld’s proposal.
Another amendment shifts funds around to help pay for a program for Kansans with disabilities and draws down federal dollars.
Final House action is expected Thursday on the bill, which would trim more than $92 million in state spending. Differences with a Senate version would have to be reconciled before the legislation could be sent to the governor.
Lawmakers still face a projected $400 million deficit in the next fiscal year, on top of making about $1 billion in cuts last year.
“This is a good first step,” House Appropriations Chairman Kevin Yoder, R-Overland Park, said Wednesday, but added, “We have miles to go before we sleep.”
He said more budget cuts will be needed. Parkinson has called for a tax increase to bridge the revenue shortfall, saying state government has already sustained damaging budget cuts.
Speaking to advocates for elderly on Wednesday, Parkinson said without more revenue “tens of thousands of Kansans will be dramatically hurt.”