Do-or-die time for Kansas budget

TOPEKA | If the Legislature is going to end by a Thursday deadline, lawmakers will have to reach a budget agreement tonight.

That’s the word this afternoon from state Rep. Marc Rhoades, a Newton Republican and lead negotiator for the House in the battle over the state budget.

“We really need something by today, by tonight,” Rhoades said after a 17th round of negotiations this afternoon.

It will take staff attorneys two days to assemble the budget, Rhoades said. So, if a budget deal isn’t reached tonight, the legislature could move past its 90th day set by statute.

The House has already given on a number of issues, including $5 million for subsidized air fares for Wichita and $5.5 million for Washburn University

Celebrating his 50th birthday today, Rhoades said it’s time for the Senate to start giving back at the negotiating table if it wants to wrap up talks. (maybe in lieu of a b-day gift)

“At some point, the House has to say we just have you five or six biggies, you guys are going to have to pony up,” Rhoades said.

Stay tuned. Talks resume at 4 p.m.