Kansas Gov. Sebelius will revise 2010 budget over stimulus

TOPEKA, Kan. | Recently enacted federal stimulus legislation has prompted Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to rewrite her proposed state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Sebelius told reporters Wednesday that she'll have a revised spending plan for legislators by the end of the week. She said she expects stimulus funds to lessen the state's problems, but added, "We are still in enormously difficult times."

The state expects to receive $1.7 billion in stimulus funds in 2009 and 2010. State officials are developing rules for spending it, but Sebelius has said $440 million in additional Medicaid funds and some education dollars could help the state avoid a budget deficit in fiscal 2010.

Kansas received its first installment of stimulus dollars Wednesday, $71.5 million in additional Medicaid funds.

Unlike governors in Missouri and some other states, Sebelius didn't include any stimulus dollars in the proposed 2010 budget she submitted to legislators last month.

"We now know more than we did earlier," Sebelius said. "This assistance from Washington, the recovery act, gives us an opportunity to lessen the difficult times for lots of Kansas families."

Legislative researchers project that if the state attempts to duplicate its current budget, it will end fiscal 2010 with a $654 million deficit. Some legislators believe significant spending cuts are necessary, and Senate Republican leaders are pushing for an average of 10 percent.

Senate President Steve Morris, a Hugoton Republican, said he's still reluctant to count on stimulus dollars because the federal government doesn't plan to provide any after 2010.

"It's one-time money. I think you have to be very careful," Morris said. "One-time money probably needs to be used for purposes that are one-time."