Parkinson announces cuts to schools, road projects, Medicaid

TOPEKA | More cuts to schools, roads and state programs were announced Monday by Gov. Mark Parkinson, the latest reductions designed to shore up the state’s recession racked budget.

“This is the most challenging budget time in Kansas history,” Parkinson said before announcing $258 million in budget cuts and adjustments.

Here are the most significant cuts:

* Kansas’ public schools will lose another $36 million in funding. Another $155 million in increased costs at the schools – most prompted by higher-than-expected enrollment, will go unfunded.

* Public universities and colleges will lose another $2 million.

* Road maintenance projects worth $50 million will be cut or postponed.

* Medicaid reimbursement rates – the amounts paid to medical professionals, hospitals and nursing homes – will be slashed by 10 percent.

* Some $85 million in federal stimulus money that had been budgeted for next year will be spent this year, creating a bigger hole in next year’s budget.

* Almost all other state agencies will be cut to varying degrees. Parkinson said that could prompt some agencies to furlough or lay off employees.

The cuts were necessitated by four straight years of revenue declines. It’s the fifth time Parkinson or lawmakers have had to cut the budget for the current fiscal year, which started July 1.