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Lawmakers head home for break, leave budget crisis unresolved

Kansas lawmakers ended the regular part of their 2010 session early Wednesday morning after putting off the year's most challenging decisions.

Lawmakers left the Statehouse after taking final votes on dozens of bills.

But the really big stuff – solutions to the state's budget crisis – will wait until lawmakers return for a wrap-up session that begins April 28. This year is the first in memory that lawmakers left for spring break without a budget in place.

The state faces a $467 million deficit in next year's budget, even after lawmakers cut more than $1 billion in spending. Balancing the budget will require slashing more funding for schools and other services, tax hikes or some combination of the two.

New state revenue estimates will be released in two weeks; lawmakers hope the updated numbers will offer clarity and make consensus easier to find.

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