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New House Rule Blocks Budget Amendments

The Kansas House has approved a bill to trim spending for the current fiscal year. The bill would give the state a balance of around 35 million dollars at the end of the fiscal year in June. Governor Sam Brownback asked lawmakers to make the cuts to help fill a nearly 500 million dollar deficit for next fiscal year. This was the first House debate under a new rule that makes it harder to amend budget bills. The rule, known as “pay as you go,” was approved yesterday (MON). It requires that any spending increase proposed on the House floor be matched by an equal spending cut. An amendment to provide more special education funding was blocked by the rule. Representative Jim Ward, a Wichita Democrat, said the rule hurts lawmakers who aren’t on the Appropriations Committee, which writes budget bills.

Supporters of the new rule say it is necessary to keep state spending in line and erase a budget deficit. House members did make a few changes to the budget bill, including moving around 375 thousand dollars from higher education funding to veterans’ programs.

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