Senate budget plan needs $850 million more revenue over two years – without education funding

The budget plan being shaped in the Senate Ways and Means Committee would require $319.1 million in additional revenue next year, Fiscal Year 2018, and $531.5 million in FY 2019 – without adding any new funding for a school finance plan.

A House-Senate conference committee Monday night approved an income tax bill, HB 2067, that would raise an estimated $425 million in FY 2018 and $454 million in FY 2019, slightly more than the cost of the Senate budget plan. The conference committee report will be considered first by the Senate.

However, it does not provide revenue for a school finance plan to respond to the Gannon school finance decision and replace the expiring block grant system. HB 2410 in the House K-12 Budget Committee would add an estimated $150 million in additional state school aid in FY 2018 and $300 million in FY 2019.

Schools for Fair Funding, representing plaintiff school districts in the Gannon case, says the House committee plan does not provide enough money to satisfy the Kansas Supreme Court ruling that school funding is constitutionally inadequate. Others argue that the court could be satisfied by a smaller amount of money targeted at low performing students.

In either case, funding for increased school finance aid would have to be in addition to the tax proposal expected to go before the Senate. The House Committee is expected to consider adding a revenue measure to that bill before sending it to the House floor for debate.

The Senate Ways and Means budget proposal does include $140 million in FY 2018 and $198.3 million in FY 2019 for scheduled increases in Kansas Public Employee Retirement System contributions that Gov. Sam Brownback did not include in his proposal and was not included in the budget bill passed earlier in the session. The Ways and Means Committee is adding the KPERS funding in the its “omnibus” or wrap-up spending bill traditionally passed at the end of the session.

The House has not yet voted on its main budget bill, which did not include KPERS funding.

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