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Negotiators agree on $14.6 billion state budget; vote expected Friday

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, May 1, 2014, at 8:39 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, July 23, 2014, at 1:12 p.m.

— State budget negotiators have reached an accord on a $14.6 billion budget, including a $250 bonus for 38,000 state employees instead of raises.

A six-member House-Senate conference committee also earmarked $360 million for the Department of Corrections for the fiscal year that starts July 1, a piece of business left over from last year when Gov. Sam Brownback line-item vetoed that part of the prison budget.

The budget deal is teed up for a yes-no vote before both chambers of the Legislature on Friday.

Budget negotiations took place in the wake of news that April income fell about $93 million short of projections.

Overall, the state has taken in about $480 million less than it had by this point in the last fiscal year.

Gov. Sam Brownback and his allies in the Legislature blame the national economic climate and President Obama’s policies for the shortfall.

Democrats say the blame lies with income tax cuts made by Brownback and the conservative Republican-dominated Legislature.

Brownback originally proposed a 1.5 percent raise for state employees. The bonuses agreed to in the conference committee would be in lieu of raises.

Under the proposal, state employees with at least one year on the job would get an additional $250 in their pay in December, conferees said.

The bonuses would cost the state $11.3 million overall, $4.5 million of that from the state general fund.

Another late addition to the budget was $250,000 in grants to the Department of Commerce to promote world trade to help market Kansas products to the world.

“We make a lot of fine products in this state,” but small manufacturers have difficulty navigating world markets, said Rep. Gene Suellentrop, R-Wichita and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Contributing: Associated Press

Reach Dion Lefler at 316-268-6527 or dlefler@wichitaeagle.com.

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