Kansas officials hope budget puzzle pieces drop into place

Kansas Legislature (KSN Photo)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Gov. Sam Brownback hopes the GOP-controlled Kansas Legislature wraps up several key budget issues this week.

Lawmakers must erase a projected shortfall of nearly $600 million for the next fiscal year.

The Senate has approved a $15.5 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 that won’t balance without tax increases. The House’s Republican leaders aren’t sure whether the chamber will vote on a spending plan before the Legislature begins its annual spring break Saturday.

Lawmakers expect to consider proposed tax increases after returning from their break April 29.

Several bills will affect the spending plan. One deals with public pensions, another with tapping health insurers for additional fees, and a third with controlling the costs of mental health drugs under the Medicaid program.

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