When the Kansas Legislature reconvenes Wednesday, the state’s budget problem will be the first and most pressing item on their agenda. Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers are responding to proposals from Governor Sam Brownback to help shore up the budget. The governor's plan, which uses savings from a reduction in Medicaid caseloads and raises taxes on alcohol and tobacco products, is not expected to come close to balancing a projected shortfall of at least $400 million. Republican Representative Mark Kahrs of Wichita says the state will be forced to make more cuts.
But Democratic Senator Laura Kelly of Topeka says cuts will not completely fix the problem. Kelly, other Democrats and some moderate Republicans say taxes will have to be raised as well.
Many conservative lawmakers have so far resisted the idea of raising taxes.