Lawmakers’ work on Kansas’ $14.5B budget stalled

Kansas House Appropriations Committee Chairman Marc Rhoades, a Newton Republican, answers questions from reporters following a round of talks between House members and senators on budget issues, Thursday, May 30, 2013, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Legislators are rethinking some of the cuts in higher education spending proposed by negotiators. (AP Photo/John Hanna)
Kansas House Appropriations Committee Chairman Marc Rhoades, a Newton Republican, answers questions from reporters following a round of talks between House members and senators on budget issues, Thursday, May 30, 2013, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Legislators are rethinking some of the cuts in higher education spending proposed by negotiators. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

TOPEKA, Kansas (AP) — Kansas legislators are waiting to consider a proposed $14.5 billion budget for each of the state’s next two fiscal years.

Republican leaders were still wrestling Friday with tax issues, which is holding up budget votes. Also, House and Senate negotiators reached agreement on budget issues two weeks ago but reopened their talks Thursday to make adjustments.

A key budget issue is higher education spending. Republican Gov. Sam Brownback wanted to keep it flat over the next two years, but both chambers approved cuts.

Negotiators have agreed to cuts of 1.5 percent in each of the next two fiscal years for state universities.

The Legislature’s annual session is in its 98th day. The state constitution specifies 90-day sessions, but Republican leaders had promised lawmakers would meet just 80 days.

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