TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas legislative committees are preparing to consider proposals for closing a projected $279 million shortfall in the state's current budget. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Ron Ryckman Jr. says the panel will begin hearings Wednesday on budget-balancing legislation. The Senate Ways and Means Committee has scheduled debates on budget-balancing proposals for Wednesday and Thursday. Governor Sam Brownback's proposals include diverting funds for highway projects and public pensions to general government programs. The state also faces an additional budget shortfall of $436 million for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The shortfalls arose after lawmakers aggressively cut personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013 at Brownback's urging to boost the state economy. The governor has since proposed slowing down future income tax cuts and increasing tobacco and alcohol taxes.