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Kansas Senate Panel OKs State Budget; Tax Hike May be Needed to Balance It

Kansas Statehouse (Photo by J. Schafer)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas Senate committee has approved a proposed $15.5 billion state budget that would not balance without tax increases.  The Ways and Means Committee's 9-2 vote Thursday was part of a crowded legislative agenda. The Senate Commerce Committee also approved a bill limiting collective bargaining between state agencies and public employee unions.  The budget plan and the bargaining bill go next to the Senate.  Lawmakers must close a projected budget shortfall of nearly $600 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1st that arose after they cut personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013 at Republican Governor Sam Brownback's urging to stimulate the economy.  The proposed budget trims overall spending slightly for the fiscal year beginning July 1 but still would require tax increases of more than $200 million.

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