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Statehouse

Stephen Koranda Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Governor Sam Brownback this week signed an order to eliminate the Kansas Arts Commission. It’s part of Brownback’s efforts to handle a 500 million dollar budget deficit. The order will take effect July 1st, unless it’s rejected by the Legislature. Brownback says the move would save the state around 600 thousand dollars next fiscal year. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda tells us, supporters of the Arts Commission say it costs the state just 29 cents per Kansan per year. They say cutting the Arts Commission will cost the state much more than that.Supporters of the Arts Commission have a rally planned...

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

An economic development agency currently housed within state government is facing elimination, but groups that have been helped by the agency are now pushing back. Governor Sam Brownback wants other state agencies to take over the functions of the currently-independent Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation, which provides venture capital and business help to high-tech startups. But Nitrite Solutions C-E-O Jeremy Jones says the state's effort should be something that is separate.Cutting KTEC (KAY-tek) and some of its programs would save about three and a half million dollars in the next...

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Members of the Kansas Senate are being urged to preserve a state economic development agency that's currently on the budgetary chopping block. Governor Sam Brownback wants to fold the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation, or KTEC (KAY-tek), into the Department of Commerce and the Kansas Board of Regents. But Nitrite Solutions C-E-O Jeremy Jones says KTEC is worth keeping around.Governor Brownback, however, says Kansas has too many stand-alone economic development agencies. Former Governor Kathleen Sebelius also tried to give KTEC the axe, but lawmakers voted to continue funding for it...

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Elected officials in Kansas who run ads promoting state programs would face restrictions under a bill that's being championed by State Treasurer Ron Estes. Estes says incumbents should not be allowed to use state dollars to run advertisments in the leadup to elections. That's something that WAS done by two officials last year. Estes says the ads are a little different than publicly-funded campaign commercials.State officers would be blocked from appearing in ads within 60 days of an election. The measure was heard by the House Elections Committee on Monday.

Stephen Koranda Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

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...

Stephen Koranda Monday, February 7th, 2011

Governor Sam Brownback has signed an executive order that would eliminate the Kansas Arts Commission. It would be replaced with an organization known as the Kansas Arts Foundation. KPR’s Stephen Koranda tells us what the change would mean.

Stephen Koranda Monday, February 7th, 2011

Governor Sam Brownback today (MON) signed an executive order to abolish the Kansas Arts Commission and replace it with the Kansas Arts Foundation. The Arts Commission is a state agency, while the Arts Foundation would be a non-profit organization responsible for raising most of its funding through private donations. Brownback says the move would save the state around 600 thousand dollars next fiscal year. He believes the arts in Kansas will continue to grow under the new organization.Opponents of the move say the state will lose more than one million dollars in federal matching funds if the...

Stephen Koranda Friday, February 4th, 2011

The Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, or KPERS, is facing a multi-billion dollar deficit in the coming decades. The situation has gotten worse in recent years, thanks to the economic downturn. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda tells us, the governor has tasked Senate leaders with working on a solution.

Stephen Koranda Friday, February 4th, 2011

The Kansas House has given first approval to a rules change that would make it more difficult to amend budget bills. Under the new rules, amendments that increase spending could only be made on the House floor if an equal spending cut is proposed. The measure is known as “pay as you go.” Supporters of the change argue it’s needed to get the state’s finances in order. Opponents say it means a majority of the Appropriations Committee, 12 members, will be able to set the size of the entire state budget. Here’s House Minority Leader, Lawrence Democrat Paul Davis, speaking on the House Floor.The...

Stephen Koranda Friday, February 4th, 2011

Early Head Start advocates looking for a commitment from Governor Sam Brownback may be out of luck. As Kansas Public Radio’s Bryan Thompson reports, the governor was asked about funding for the program during a Friday morning news conference.

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