Kansas House endorses budget; mild cut to schools: Star

The Star:

TOPEKA | Shuttered correctional facilities, reductions to universities and state agencies, and small cuts to schools are under consideration as Kansas lawmakers seek to erase a $680 million budget deficit.

The Kansas House Monday endorsed a $13.4 billion budget plan that uses nearly $400 million in federal stimulus money to avoid bigger reductions. Lawmakers warned that the state’s fiscal condition necessitated slashing of spending.

In a sign of just how tough the decisions are, House lawmakers voted to dock their own daily pay by 10 percent. The move may be symbolic if the Senate balks at the pay cut. But House Republicans said there’s nothing symbolic about the pain in the other budget cuts.

“It’s tough to go home and tell your constituents ‘I cut services for the poor. … I cut spending on public safety programs,’ ” said Rep. Kevin Yoder, an Overland Park Republican who leads the House budget committee. “The truth is, this Legislature does not have enough money to fund every priority, and we’re going to have to make reductions.”

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