Concerns linger over Brownback’s budget proposal

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — As lawmakers prepare for week two of the session, concerns linger over the Governor’s budget proposal.

The budget introduced last week includes an additional $34.5 million in new spending for the rest of this fiscal year, and $290 million in new spending next year.

“The economy has been growing nicely,” Governor Brownback explained after the State of the State Address.

The proposal also includes an addition $600 million for K-12 education over the next five years. The investment is in order to address the Supreme’s Court ruling that schools aren’t adequately funded.

Many lawmakers say without a tax increase the large investment isn’t feasible and could hurt other departments.

“Everybody is concerned we’ll back into a deficit spot in 2020,” explained State Sen. Jim Denning, R-Overland Park.

“We’re not fully funding KAPERS,we’re not doing our obligations that we are statutorily required to do so,” said State Rep. Troy Waymaster R-Bunker Hill.

While the Governor’s proposal wasn’t well received by those in his own party, it did received a lukewarm response from some Democrats.

“It’s not that my caucus thinks it’s perfect, but thought it was a great starting point, and the other caucus I think was showing quiet a bit of anger feeling like the Governor’s recommendations may have been reckless,” explained State Sen. Tom Hawk, D-Manhattan.

This week, a number of committees are expected to hear from the special committee on school finance and the work it completed in the off session.  Education commissioner, Randy Watson, is also scheduled to make a presentation on the K-12 budget.

Lawmakers on the State’s Finance Committee are also expected to make the final decision on a proposal to rebuild the Lansing Correctional Facility. If approved, it would cost the state more than $300 million.

Brownback is schedule to tour the prison Tuesday.

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