Budget proposal would divert $25M in road funds

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

TOPEKA, Kansas – The latest on Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan to close the state’s projected budget deficit:

10:15 a.m.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback wants to divert an additional $25 million in transportation funds to general government programs to help balance the state’s next budget.

Brownback budget director Shawn Sullivan outlined the proposal Wednesday during a joint meeting of the House and Senate budget committees. The measure would be in addition to a $50 million diversion late last year.

The governor’s budget said efficiencies within the state Department of Transportation would prevent the latest proposal from affecting major projects. Also, KDOT last month issued $400 million in bonds for highway projects.

The state faces a projected deficit of $190 million in its budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Governors and legislators have repeatedly diverted highway funds to general government programs in the past to help cover budget shortfalls.

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9:55 a.m.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing to raise $25 million to help close a budget shortfall by selling off the assets of an agency set up to nurture emerging biosciences companies.

Brownback’s proposal Wednesday follows a decision by the Kansas Bioscience Authority’s board last month to rely on private-sector support for its investments in companies.

The governor’s budget said partnering with experienced investors will increase the state’s biosciences industry.

The state created the authority in 2005 and dedicated tax revenues to its investments, but the annual amount declined to $7 million. Brownback proposed reducing the amount to $2 million during the current budget year and eliminating it altogether during the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The state faces a projected $190 million deficit for the next fiscal year.

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9:35 a.m.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposal to use nearly $51 million in tobacco settlement funds doesn’t strip state dollars from children’s programs that have been financed with those dollars.

The proposals outlined by Brownback budget director Shawn Sullivan on Wednesday show that $44 million worth of children’s programs are still financed, but with general tax dollars.

The state faces a projected $190 million deficit in the state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Sullivan presented Brownback’s recommendations to a joint meeting of the House and Senate budget committees.

His proposals call for diverting $51 million from the Children’s Initiatives Fund to general government programs. The children’s fund is supported by revenues from a settlement of lawsuits by states against tobacco companies in the 1990s.

The Governor’s office reached out to KSN, saying the Children’s Initiatives Fund changes are not, technically, a fund sweep.

““Every existing childhood program funded by CIF continues to be fully funded in this budget,” said Budget Director Shawn Sullivan on Wednesday. “In a series of meetings with KSDE and the Children’s Cabinet, the Governor asked them for recommendations on how we can better align and coordinate early childhood education across the state. We are implementing their recommendations.”

The move with Children’s Initiatives Fund would bring all of the early childhood programs under one roof.

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