Fight over Kansas budget continues in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kansas – There is a fight brewing in Topeka. The Senate is pushing an idea that would cut another roughly $192 million from K-12 education.

“They just don’t have the votes for it in the House on this side,” says Democrat Representative Jim Ward of Wichita. “Keep in mind, we have already cut the budget and that includes K-12 education”

Republican Senator Ty Masterson of Andover says it’s an idea that would come up with about $400 million to fix the Kansas budget.

Kansas needs to find $406 million by midnight, Sunday to avoid a possible Kansas government shutdown.

“The truth is the budget has grown, but it has grown because of entitlements,” Masterson told KSN News. “We need to make the ends meet.”

The plan would make a blanket 6.8 percent cut across all state budgets. That includes Medicaid and the Kansas Department of Transportation and public schools and everything else the state funds.

“It’s time to get a grip on reality,” says Masterson. “And the reality is we have to fund a budget. But we have to be responsible.”

The idea of a 6.8 percent cut is one of three ideas floated by a Senate committee on Tuesday. One of the plans would be a more modest 2 percent cut to all budgets.

“I ran on the idea that we are done cutting education,” says Republican John Doll of Garden City. “This idea will not pass. It certainly won’t have my vote.”

Lawmakers are working the plan, and hope to have a tax plan to go with possible budget cuts by Friday or Saturday.

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