Kansas lawmakers will be working to fill the state's budget deficit during their annual session. The state is facing a projected $14 million deficit for the fiscal year that ends in June and another $170 million shortfall for the next fiscal year. Lawmakers closed a larger deficit last year by raising sales and cigarette taxes but Governor Sam Brownback has ruled out tax increases this year. Democratic Representative Jim Ward of Wichita says it's fundamentally unfair to have thousands of businesses and individuals in the state paying little or no state tax while the state is going broke.
Governor Brownback says he prefers spending cuts to balance the budget but Ward says lawmakers have been cutting spending for five years including twice since they wrapped up the last session in June and, he says, it's not working.