Kansas lawmakers open session facing budget gaps

(KSNT File photo)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators have opened their annual session to wrestle with the state’s budget problems and consider rolling back income tax cuts championed by Gov. Sam Brownback.

Both the House and Senate convened Monday afternoon for a first day typically long on speeches and ceremony and short on actual business.

But the House Taxation Committee was meeting later in the afternoon to kick off a debate over tax issues.

The state faces a projected shortfall of $342 million in its current budget and gaps in funding for existing programs totaling $1.1 billion through June 2019.

Kansas has struggled to balance its budgets since the GOP-dominated Legislature slashed income taxes in 2012 and 2013 at Brownback’s urging to stimulate the economy. Many voters concluded last year that the effort was a bust.

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