Topeka, KS – Last week a group of Kansas budget officials lowered the state revenue estimate for this fiscal year, which will likely mean additional cuts to state government. K through 12 education makes up around half the state budget. This has some school officials concerned education could be facing cuts.
Kansas City, MO – A group of economists and policy-makers slashed Kansas tax collection estimates Thursday by $235 million, reflecting signs of continued weakness in the state economy.
The new forecast for the remainder of the state's 2010 fiscal year through next June 30 means Kansas government will have 4.2 percent fewer tax dollars to finance services, including public education, than previously estimated in April. Kansas began its fiscal year July 1.
Lawrence, KS – Kansas is one of the windiest states, and state government and power company officials are trying to capitalize on that. Officials met in Lawrence to talk about ways to make that happen.
Topeka, KS – A Kansas commission is pushing for closing a state facility for the developmentally disabled. Members of the Facilities Closure and Realignment Commission voted to recommend shuttering the Kansas Neurological Institute in Topeka, known as KNI.
Topeka,KS – The Kansas Board of Education is kicking off its search for a new state education commissioner.
The Board of Education is calling on a national group to help find a new commissioner. The National Association of State Boards of Education will advertise the position across the country and collect candidates.
Kansas Board of Ed Chair Janet Waugh says they'll need to search a wide area, because the right candidate will need a variety of skills.
Topeka, KS – The Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, or KPERS, is facing a multi-billion dollar shortfall in coming years. Yesterday , the Kansas House Appropriations Committee heard about changes that some economists believe could save the state money.
A University of Kansas economist told legislators they could quickly start a new 401(k)-style pension plan for teachers and government workers.
Topeka, KS – The Kansas House Appropriations Committee is looking at consolidating public school districts as a way to help the state save cash and make it through the budget crunch. Statehouse Reporter Stephen Koranda has more.
Topeka, KS – With demand for so-called "green energy" likely to increase in the future, Kansas could become a major player in renewable energy. That's because Kansas is one of the windiest states. This week in Topeka the annual Wind and Renewable Energy Conference is exploring how Kansas can become a bigger part of the wind power industry.
Click on the link to liste to Stephen Koranda's story.
Topeka, KS – A Kansas commission is looking at ways to improve the state's drunk driving laws. The DUI Commission heard how a specialized court could more efficiently deal with offenders.
DUI courts offer supervision and treatment for offenders- instead of jail time for offenders. David Wallace is director of the National Center for DWI Courts, and he says keeping offenders out of jail can save cash, and the courts can help reduce the number of costly trials.
Topeka, KS – September may have been a bad month for the Kansas budget as corporate and income taxes fell below estimate.
Kansas officials say the state's revenues in September came in $67 million below expectations. So far in the fiscal year that began July 1, state revenues are $65 million below the forecasts that formed the basis for the state budget.
Topeka, KS – A Kansas commission is looking at possibly closing one or both of the state's two institutions for the mentally and developmentally disabled. Yesterday at the statehouse, the commission heard comments from those who might be affected. KPR Statehouse Reporter Stephen Koranda has more.
Topeka KS – It could cost more for Kansas smokers to light up in the future.
Today, Governor Mark Parkinson said he'll consider a tobacco tax increase in the coming legislative session if state tax revenues don't improve.
"If we don't need to increase revenue, if we can meet our budgetary needs without increasing taxes, we won't increase tobacco taxes just for the sake of increasing them," Parkinson said. "But if we need the revenue, we'll look at it."
Some estimates have put next fiscal year's budget deficit at more than 500 million dollars.
Topeka, KS – Republican Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins told a crowd of 200 people gathered in Topeka today that the health care reform proposals being debated on capital hill are too costly and allow too much government intrusion.
Jenkins, who was speaking at a town hall meeting on health reform, drew applause from the crowd when she criticized the plan.
JENKINS: "I've said this from the beginning, that I can't support any plan - any plan - that puts bureaucrats or politicians in between you and your physician."
Topeka, KS – The Kansas Board of Education is working on recommendations for dealing with swine flu during the coming school year.Yesterday, board members were briefed on strategies for slowing the disease. KPR Statehouse Reporter Stephen Koranda has more.
Yesterday, State Health Officer Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips briefed the Board on ways to slow the spread of the disease. He says they should develop plans that won't require closing schools if the flu isn't widespread.
A report from the Government Accountability Office questions how the Department of Homeland Security determined the safety of six sites for a proposed animal disease research lab. Manhattan, Kan., was selected as the site for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF.
A draft report argues DHS used poor techniques to determine how diseases would spread if they were accidentally released.