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More state budget cuts coming tomorrow

TOPEKA – Gov. Mark Parkinson will announce more cuts to the state budget Friday morning.

The announcement comes on the heals of February revenue numbers which showed tax receipts lagging about $71 million behind expectations.

Already, lawmakers are expecting a $400 million plus shortfall for the fiscal year 2011 budget, which starts July 1.

In November, Parkinson, a Democrat, announced cuts to the current 2010 budget total ling about $260 million.

The new round of cuts are something Parkinson has tried to avoid. After the last round of allotments, the governor said further cuts could cripple state government.

Since then, he has pushed for lawmakers to increase taxes including a three-year 1 cent raise to the state sales tax and increases to tobacco and cigarette taxes. The increases would help next year’s budget but not the current year.

That idea gained little traction, even among his own party.

Lawmakers are also considering eliminating a state sales tax exemption to residential utilities – which would garner about $140 million for next year’s budget.

The governor’s announcement is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Friday. Check the blog tomorrow for a list of Parkinson’s suggested cuts.