Shawn Sullivan

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Estimates for Kansas tax collections were ratcheted down sharply Wednesday. The state’s projected revenues dropped by a quarter billion dollars over the next year-and-a-half. That leaves Kansas with a budget deficit, and Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing plans for erasing the shortfall.

Kansas will need to find $140 million in the current fiscal year to get out of the red. Next fiscal year, which starts in July, will need another $151 million in cuts or new revenue. Brownback’s budget director, Shawn Sullivan, laid out three options for filling the hole.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

Last month, the Kansas Department of Revenue reported that tax receipts fell roughly $54 million short of projections in February, a far worse performance than most anyone expected. That would have left the state with a projected $47 million hole, but Gov. Sam Brownback ordered $17 million in cuts, or 3 percent, to the state’s six Regents universities, lowering the deficit to about $30 million.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s decision to divert federal funding away from a health insurance program is drawing sharp criticism from children’s advocates.

Shannon Cotsoradis, president of Kansas Action for Children, says the governor is shortchanging Kansas families who depend on the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget director believes Kansas officials needs to study how they estimate future state tax collections. The comments were made just before new July revenue numbers came in below the mark.

Over the last year, Kansas tax collections have come up short of the estimates 10 times, and beat the estimates twice. Some of the misses were small, but four times over the last year the state’s monthly tax collections were at least $20 million below expectations.

Brownback’s budget director, Shawn Sullivan, helps create the estimates.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has approved the Kansas Plan on Aging for the next four years. The plan is a broad outline of how the state intends to use federal resources under the Older Americans Act.

Secretary for Aging and Disability Services, Shawn Sullivan, says the plan is based on priorities identified by older Kansans, and those who work with them.

“Seniors here in Kansas want to stay at home, and in order to do that, I think there are some changes that we need to make," says Sullivan.

The state is recognizing eight nursing home facilities for offering innovative ways of caring for older Kansans. The PEAK awards recognize facilities that focus on providing better quality of life for seniors.

“For the longest times, nursing homes and senior living communities have been patterned after hospitals and warehousing-type structures that were very rigid and very structured environments and gave very few limited number of choices to those that live there,” said Shawn Sullivan, secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services.