TOPEKA — With time ticking away, Kansas lawmakers resumed talks on the state's $14 billion budget Monday as the Senate tendered a new offer that sets aside a bigger nest egg.
Senate leaders offered a plan they said leaves more than a $55 million cash balance at the end of the year, but preserves funding for education, social services and other programs.
"We're hopeful the House is going to come back with a good counter proposal and something we can start to whittle down and compromise on," said Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, lead Senate negotiator.
Lawmakers are racing to wrap up the session before a Thursday deadline. McGinn has moved to shut off legislative pay after Thursday. Gov. Sam Brownback also is urging lawmakers to wrap up their work by the deadline.
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Among other things, senators signaled they would compromise on a number of issues including across-the-board cuts in social services, the judiciary and the state health department.
Senators want to keep the state contribution for K-12 education at the amount they had proposed earlier, about $3,786 per student. That would cut the state's general aid to schools by $226 per student, or about 5.6 percent. Brownback proposed a cut of $232 per student, and the House passed a cut of $250 per student.
The current aid figure is $4,012 per student.
Possible compromises mapped out in the Senate proposal Monday include:
* Cutting $4.8 million from the state's social service agency's budget, down from $10 million sought by the House.
* Cutting $2.1 million from the judiciary, down from $6 million wanted by the House.
However, there are some items the Senate still wants funded. They include:
* $5 million for the Kansas Affordable Airfares Program to help subsidize lower fares at Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita
* $8.5 million to bring the pay of classified state executive branch employees up to market value.
* $1.5 million for public broadcasting. The House wanted spending reduced.
Talks are expected to resume this morning.