Kansas legislators pass $19.9B budget

photo by: Associated Press

Kansas House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr., center, R-Olathe, confers with members of his and other Republican leaders' staff as the chamber prepares to adjourn so that lawmakers can start their annual spring break, Thursday, March 19, 2020, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Lawmakers approved a 10-year, $10 billion transportation program that many of them see as a stimulus to counter the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

Kansas’ Republican-controlled Legislature finished a $19.9 billion annual budget on Thursday to keep state government operating after June.

Lawmakers finished it as part of a day of pressing work before an early and unusually long spring break. The budget would boost the state’s overall spending by $1.2 billion, or 6.4%.

Some big spending issues, such as a pay raise for state workers, are left until later, but the budget sets aside $50 million for responding to the coronavirus.

The House passed it 99-16, and the Senate approved it, 28-10.

The Legislature had originally been scheduled to stay in session through April 3 before taking its spring break, but its leaders decided to expedite key measures so lawmakers could get away from Statehouse gatherings. Lawmakers planned to return April 27 to wrap up the year’s business.

The budget passed on the same day that legislators approved coronavirus relief measures and a new transportation plan. However, two of the session’s biggest issues were not resolved ahead of the break.

Republican leaders gave up for now on their top priority, a proposed anti-abortion amendment to the state constitution, and a bipartisan plan to expand the state’s Medicaid program was stalled. GOP lawmakers also temporarily abandoned a push for income tax cuts.


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