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KS Children's Group Protests Plan to Divert Funds

Photo by Stephen Koranda

A group that advocates for Kansas children is protesting Governor Sam Brownback’s proposal to use money from a children’s fund to help cover a budget shortfall. The money comes from the 1990s tobacco settlement payments and is used for programs including Early Head Start. KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports on the proposal to help close a gap in the current fiscal year's budget.

Brownback Budget Director Shawn Sullivan says this doesn't include any cuts to current children’s programs.

“The money’s been appropriated, all we’re taking is the excess balance in the fund that hasn’t been appropriated to any specific program,” says Sullivan.

Sullivan says they expect steady funding for the programs in the coming years. But Shannon Cotsoradis, with Kansas Action for Children, says they know the tobacco payments will go down in 2017, so the money will be needed then.

“This is both a short- and long-term problem. A short-term problem if payments don’t come in as expected this year and definitely a long-term problem when it comes to supporting these programs in the coming years,” says Cotsoradis.

This part of the governor’s budget plan will need the approval of lawmakers.

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