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Headlines for Saturday, June 6, 2015

Kansas Legislative Negotiators Agree on New Tax Plan
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislative negotiators have agreed on a new plan for raising taxes to balance the state budget that embraces Governor Sam Brownback's stance on business taxes. The measure drafted last (FRI) night by three senators and three House members would increase the state's sales tax to 6.55 percent from 6.15 percent. It also would increase business taxes by Brownback's upper limit of $24 million during the fiscal year beginning July 1st. The Republican governor has said he'll veto anything more aggressive. Lawmakers must raise taxes by more than $400 million to prevent a budget shortfall during the next fiscal year. The negotiators resumed talks yesterday (FRI) after the House voted 82-27 against a plan that would have defied Brownback's veto threat by raising business taxes by $101 million.
Kansas House has Plan to Block State Furloughs
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A bill aimed at averting a partial shutdown of state government is being considered by the Kansas House. Lawmakers were seeking today (SAT) to prevent workers from being furloughed because of the Legislature's impasse on budget and tax issues. The House planned to take up the bill this (SAT) morning. The House Appropriations Committee approved the measure during a hastily called meeting late Friday night. That was hours after at least 24,200 thousands of workers in state agencies and at state universities received furlough notices. The measure would deem all state employees essential for another few weeks. Absent such a measure or a deal by tomorrow (SUN) on taxes and spending for the fiscal year beginning July 1st, the state is not authorized to pay nonessential state employees next week.
More than 24,000 Kansas State Workers Get Furlough Notices
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — At least 24,200 workers at Kansas state government agencies and state universities have received notices that they'll be furloughed if lawmakers don't approve a budget by tomorrow (SUN). Figures provided yesterday (FRI) to The Associated Press showed that almost 71 percent of those employees work at a state university.  Department of Administration spokesman John Milburn said about 7,100 employees in agencies under Governor Sam Brownback's direct control received notices. The University of Kansas reported sending furlough notices to almost 5,300 workers. Notices went to another 2,600 workers at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Kansas State University announced it sent notices to more than 8,700 employees. The number at Pittsburg State University was 530. Lawmakers have yet to approve a complete state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1st.
Union Head Plans Legal Action if Kansas Furloughs Workers
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas' largest union for state employees says it will file legal actions against the state if it furloughs workers. Rebecca Proctor of the Kansas Organization of State Employees said Friday that she will file actions on a number of levels if an emergency furlough of nonessential state workers takes effect tomorrow (SUN).  Proctor says her organization is prepared to file labor grievances as well as legal actions against the state. She says she also would arrange to bus public workers to rallies in Topeka to pressure legislators.
State lawmakers have been deadlocked over taxes and spending proposals to close a budget deficit for the fiscal year beginning July 1st. Without a budget, the state cannot pay state workers beyond Saturday and all nonessential employees will be furloughed.


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