Solving budget deficit past 90-day legislative session will cost the state more money

Kansas Statehouse (KSN File Photo)

WICHITA, Kansas – State lawmakers only have three days left to fix a $406 million budget shortfall.

Legislators KSN spoke with say normally at this time of the year they are making the final tweaks to the budget.

It’s not the case this year as they continue to scramble for some sort of solution to the budget deficit.

With the 90th and last day of the session approaching, Senator Michael O’Donnell isn’t optimistic legislators will find that solution.

“No, we will not be done by the 90th day,” said O’Donnell.

O’Donnell says come Monday, they’ll have to extend their veto session.

“We’re probably looking at another week or two weeks to get the right budget plan,” said O’Donnell.

KSN News asked how much could this cost the state?

“The cost for the legislators is approximately, just shy of $36,000 a day,” said Tom Day, Director of Legislative Administrative Services.

Day says this accounts for all 165 legislators.

In addition, they would have to pay for the support staff needed for those extra days.

“We would go to a fairly skeletal support staff, and that would run somewhere between $6,500 and $7,000 a day,” said Day.

That equates to about $43,000 a day.

Another option could be special session.

In the past 10 years, that has happened twice.

In 2013, legislators came back for one day in September.

However in 2005, a special session lasting 14 days took place.

With the current figures right now, if another one were to take place that would cost the state around $600,000.

Lawmakers we talked to say they want to get the right budget deal done now and not be called back to Topeka later.

“You really want to get it right as soon as you can, but you shouldn’t say you should get it done fast, just to get it done fast,” said Rep. Jim Ward.

According to Kansas Law, lawmakers are required to have a balance budget.

If the session goes longer than 90 days, O’Donnell says some legislators are trying to save the state some money, by waiving their per diems to save on expenses.

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