Statehouse Live

WSU economists forecast flat job growth in Kansas in 2017; state-led recession 'potentially around the corner'

Peter Hancock

Economists at Wichita State University released a [new economic forecast for Kansas][1] on Wednesday, saying they expect employment to grow only half a percent in 2017. "Unlike the U.S. economy, the Kansas economy may have reached its peak,” said Jeremy Hill, director of WSU's Center for Economic Development and Business ...

Senate finishes work for the week; Kansans for Life official to be deputy state treasurer

Peter Hancock

Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning said Thursday that there would be no more business on the floor of the Senate this week, but that starting Monday the Senate would work seven days a week through the end of the session. The Senate will hold a "pro forma" session Friday so ...

Watching paint dry at the Legislature

Peter Hancock

Tuesday marked the 85th day of the 2017 legislative session, and it was yet another day when virtually no progress was made toward solving the state's looming budget crisis or answering the Kansas Supreme Court's order to improve public school funding. Although a House committee working on a school funding ...

Tax committees go back to the drawing board; new numbers show depths of budget crisis

Peter Hancock

Kansas lawmakers made little progress Thursday toward resolving a stalemate over tax policy, but the House tax committee got a look at some new numbers that illustrate the depths of the state's impending budget crisis. In short, the committee was told, they will need to raise about $1.5 billion in ...

Executive director of Kansas Democratic Party stepping down

Peter Hancock

Kerry Gooch announced Tuesday night that he will soon step down as executive director of the Kansas Democratic Party. Gooch first started working for the party four years ago at age 22. He became executive director in 2015 after what had been, for Democrats, a disappointing election cycle the year ...

School funding plan may not get to full House before next week

Peter Hancock

Kansas lawmakers may have to wait at least several more days before they get a chance to debate and vote on a proposed new formula for funding public schools. That's one of the Legislature's "must-do" tasks this year because the [Kansas Supreme Court has said][1] the block grant formula that ...

First day back: New tax plan with old provisions moves forward; appointed senator takes seat

Peter Hancock

The Kansas Senate could vote as early as Tuesday on a new, revised tax package that is changed only slightly from the one Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed earlier in the session. House and Senate negotiators met late in the afternoon on their first day back in session following a three-week ...

The problem with sales taxes

Peter Hancock

The Kansas Legislature's top tax analyst tried to explain something to lawmakers Thursday that many people are still trying to get their heads around: Why, at a time when there is modest but measurable inflation in the retail sector, is Kansas not seeing similar growth in retail sales tax collections? ...

Brownback: 'No reason' St. Francis hospital should close

Peter Hancock

Saying there is at least one, and possibly more companies negotiating to buy the troubled St. Francis Health Center in Topeka, Gov. Sam Brownback said Wednesday there is "no reason" that hospital should close later this year. "We now have a buyer — at least one, we think there may ...

Many wrote off special 4th District race, but they shouldn't have

Peter Hancock

In the wake of a surprisingly close special election on Tuesday, state and national Democrats have to be asking themselves one question: Who lost the 4th District? The more important question, though, ought to be what, if anything, does the race between Republican State Treasurer Ron Estes and first-time Democratic ...

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