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.