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Kansas Lawmakers to Vote on Budget Agreement

Budget negotiators meeting at the Statehouse. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

Kansas lawmakers are slated to vote on a bill Sunday that would delay a payment into the state pension plan and cut government spending to balance the budget.

Legislative leaders had originally planned to vote on the bill late Saturday night, but some lawmakers objected after having little time to review it. The Senate also adjourned until Sunday after a major health care bill was delayed for more work, meaning there was no way to end the 2016 legislative session Saturday night.

The proposal would require Governor Sam Brownback to cut more than $80 million in spending next fiscal year. Republican Senator Ty Masterson says the plan relies on the governor because of disagreements among lawmakers.

“The danger is nothing passing. I think the debate in this building has become toxic to the level I’m not sure anything passes,” says Masterson.

The plan does protect public schools from losing funding.

Democratic Senator Laura Kelly says leaving it up to governor to make budget cuts is dodging their responsibilities.

“I still think we ought to try to do what we are sent here to do, which would be to provide a truly balanced budget,” says Kelly.

Universities will likely face reductions, and the bill changes how the trimming would happen. The larger institutions, Kansas State University and the University of Kansas, would take more significant budget cuts.

Lawmakers approving a budget will pave the way for ending the legislative session. Governor Brownback's office says he'll likely sign the spending plan into law if it's approved.

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