19 Mar State Spending, Including Schools, Could Get Hit Again in 2011

March 19, 2010

By: Craig Andres
Source: KSN.com

Soda, cigarettes, liquor even a one-cent sales tax. It was all supposed to be part of the plan to close a nearly 400 million dollar deficit for the Kansas budget.
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Not anymore.

This week, Kansas Republican leaders in the house say there is still room to cut the budget rather than do revenue enhancements, or, new taxes.

Debate will continue Friday on the latest ideas.

"It will be an end-game process," says Derek Schmidt of Independence. "21 Senators and three house members and a Governor to reach an agreement on what are the least bad of many bad options."

But Governor Mark Parkinson has his own ideas. As late as Tuesday of this week Parkinson was seen on the steps of the capital plugging his idea of a one-cent sales tax to help Kansas out of its economic crisis.

"Do we want to be a state that tears down our schools," says Parkinson, "that refuses to provide education for our children?"

K-12 education would take another hit under the latest plan. House Republicans are calling for an overall freeze in state spending. The freeze for next budget year would mean another 170 million dollars not sent to schools. Also, the state would rely on another 130 million from Uncle Sam in a medicaid deal. But, that medicaid deal may or may not be passed.

In addition, the state would cut all state agency budgets by one percent and even close all state offices at three in the afternoon on Fridays.

Debate on how to get Kansas back in the black will continue in Topeka through next week.

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