Kansas lawmakers convene session with budget gap to close

Gov. Sam Brownback (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

TOPEKA, Kansas (AP) — Kansas legislators faced closing a projected $190 million shortfall in the budget for the state’s next fiscal year as they opened their annual session.

The Republican-dominated House and Senate were convening Monday afternoon for the session’s first day.

GOP leaders were hoping Republicans could avoid the infighting that made last year’s session the longest ever at 114 days. Sessions are typically scheduled for 90 days, but top Republicans hope this year’s will be 80 or even fewer days.

The projected deficit is the gap between anticipated revenues and spending already approved under the $15.8 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Republican legislators last year closed a bigger shortfall by raising sales and cigarette taxes. GOP Gov. Sam Brownback has ruled out further tax increases this year.

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