The Kansas Legislature convenes its 2015 session Monday, and the major issue will be a $700 million hole in the state’s budget for the current and the next fiscal years. Lawmakers are divided over how to bridge that budget gap. Many conservative Republicans, like Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce, say the state has enough money coming in but is not spending it wisely.
But, unlike some of his conservative colleagues, Bruce says he doesn’t think the legislature can solve the budget problem simply with more efficient spending.
The questions of where to make those cuts and how to bring in more revenue are among the most difficult questions lawmakers will face starting Monday. Washburn University political science professor Bob Beatty says there are no easy answers.
Governor Sam Brownback's proposal includes scaling back state pension funds and reducing spending by four percent for some state agencies. Brownback also wants to transfer nearly $100 million out of the state highway fund.