Kansas House, Senate approve budget bill

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – The Kansas House and Senate have approved budget legislation that includes pay raises of up to 5 percent for state workers who haven’t had increases in recent years. The vote in the House Saturday was 88-27 and came after the Senate approved the measure 27-11.

The bill goes next to Gov. Sam Brownback.

The measure includes a $15.6 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 and a $15.8 billion budget for the one beginning in July 2018.

Lawmakers rang in on the decision.

“Significant progress was made in rebuilding Kansas by the legislature,” said Democrat Minority leader, Jim Ward of Wichita. “There’s more work to be done but we are making progress.”

Some Republicans offered a different take on the budget.

“The retroactive and unnecessary tax hike in Kansans is a direct attack on working families how are already struggling to make ends meet,” said Republican representative Chuck Weber of Wichita. “A massive tax increase was the easy way out of a very challenging situation.”

Employees who’ve worked for the state five or more years would get a raise if they haven’t had one within five years.

Other workers would get a 2.5 percent raise if they haven’t had a raise in the past two years.

Lawmakers will go back on the 26th of this month for a ceremonial closing session.