Senate approves budget that depends on more revenue

The Kansas Senate on Thursday approved 25-15 an unbalanced budget for the next two years, with funding dependent on new revenue that has not been determined, and no additional funding for school finance in response to the Gannon decision.

Senate Bill 189, as proposed by the Senate Ways and Means Committee, would have left a deficit of over $400 million for both FY 2018 and FY 2019. That amount was trimmed back when the Senate accepted an amendment to delete additional funding for Kansas Public Employees Retirement System.

As passed, the bill restored cuts of $47 million in FY 2018 and $89 million in FY 2019 to school funding proposed by Gov. Sam Brownback. The governor based those reductions on recommendations for procurement and health insurance savings developed by the Alvarez and Marsal efficiency study, but the Senate Ways and Committee concluded those savings were not possible.

As part of the Brownback’s budget proposals for the current year, FY 2017, and the next two years, he proposed freezing contributions at the 2016 level, rather than adding money as scheduled to erase the “unfunded liability” of the system, as well as repaying a skipped fourth quarter payment in FY 2016.

Holding back on those payments was a big part of the Governor’s plan to balance the budget with a smaller package of business, cigarette and liquor taxes. House and Senate budget negotiators have already agreed to skip the payments for the current year and replay them over the next 10 years. The Senate action would skip those payments for the next two years, but that funding could be restored during the “veto session” in May.

Senator Ty Masterson, R-Andover, proposed an amendment to defer all “new” spending until the veto session, as well. That failed on a vote of 15-25.

Share this post