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New Kansas House Speaker Begins Work on Budget Fix

Representative Ron Ryckman during the legislative session earlier this year. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

The new speaker of the Kansas House says he’s working on a budget-balancing solution, but he’s not giving any hints as to what that might be.

Republican Speaker-elect Ron Ryckman says that work is starting now.

“There’s a lot of different options out there. Those decisions and plans won’t be made in a vacuum. We’ll bring in some folks that I trust. Also, the newly elected. Hopefully we’ll have a unified plan that the caucus can surround themselves with,” says Ryckman.

Kansas lawmakers will have to tackle budget deficits for the current and coming year. For the fiscal year we are already in, the state faces a shortfall of nearly $350 million.

“That hole, as we get closer to the end of the fiscal year, there’s less time to adapt to it,” says Ryckman.

Ryckman says that means they have to work fast. He has already had a meeting with the governor and says he’ll be consulting with other lawmakers to develop a plan.

“After that, we obviously will be ready to come back in the first of the session with some sort of rescission bill,” says Ryckman.

Ryckman says he’s open to hearing all option for budget balancing including tax increases. One challenge for the current budget year is that tax hikes generally don’t take effect and start bringing in new revenue until at least the following year.

Stephen Koranda has more:

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