Kansas lawmakers advance budget plan to avoid school cuts

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators are advancing a new budget-balancing proposal to allow the state to pay its bills through June without cutting public school spending.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee unanimously endorsed a bill Tuesday that would temporarily short state contributions to public employee pensions and use internal government borrowing to get through June. The full Senate expects to debate the plan Thursday.

The state is facing a projected shortfall of $281 million in its budget for the current fiscal year ending June 30. It faces total budget gaps of more than $1 billion through June 2019.

The plan approved by the committee Tuesday assumes that lawmakers will increase taxes to raise $763 million over two years, starting in July. But new revenue would not flow before July.

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