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House committee resumes budget work

TOPEKA – What is normally a staid recitation of budget numbers on Friday was punctuated by protest chants.

As the House Appropriations Committee took up the report from the subcommittee on social services, a group outside the old Supreme Court room began chanting phrases including “people are dying, shame on you.”

Lawmakers could hear them from inside the chambers.

The subcommittee’s recommendations included deleting allotments for home and community based services for people with physical disabilities, $3.6 million, and with developmental disabilities, $3.3 million.

The House is crafting a budget that adapts to a budget shortfall of about $510 million, depending on the programs that are funded. With all funds, the state budget is about $13 billion; a little more than $5 billion of that is state money.

Lawmakers return for a veto session April 28, when the full legislature will take up the Senate and House budget proposals.

Both chambers’ budget committees were in Topeka this week hammering out their initial budget proposals.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee approved its budget draft Wednesday, but without the accompanying $412 million tax package that is needed to fund it. The committee will resume work during the veto session.