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Kansas Lawmakers Brace for Budget cuts - KOAM TV 7

Kansas Lawmakers Brace for Budget cuts

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PITTSBURG, KANSAS - The Kansas state house and senate re-convenes on Monday.

And area representatives say one of the biggest issues that could affect folks locally... The budget.

Kansas is facing a financial crisis.

"In the current fiscal year we're looking at a 279-million dollar shortfall," Sen. Jake LaTurner (R-KS) said. "For the following year we're looking somewhere in the neighborhood of a 600-700 million dollar shortfall."

During the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce "Legislative Send-Off", local law makers sent a pretty clear message: The state has no money.

"In 2012 there were some major tax cuts for flow-through businesses, LLCs, S-Corps, and some higher-earning individuals," Rep. Adam Lusker (D-KS) said. "Those roll backs caused the deficit.  The state's coffers were depleted because of those cuts.

Now the area is bracing for the state's lack of tax revenue being covered by local budget cuts.  

But lawmakers say it's not a matter of if cuts will effect the area, just how much. And trying to keep funding from being cut too much from things that matter to Pittsburg. Like higher education, Highway 69 expansion, K-12 education, as well as state-wide cuts to things like transportation or highway maintenance.

"And all those things take money," Lusker said.

"If, by chance, the four-tenths of a cent that now goes to t-works would happen to be taken away and go straight to the state general fund; t-works would be dead in the water," Rep. Rich Proehl (R-KS) said.

"We in Southeast Kansas will feel some effects of this 279-million dollar deficit for this year," Lusker said. "And if we try to cut out 650-million, or what ever it was for next year, it's gonna be even deeper cuts."

The Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce gave position statements concerning issues it considers high-priority; including funding for higher education, an 8-billion dollar state transportation plan, and medicaid expansion.  
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