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House begins its budget debate

TOPEKA – The House has started debating its proposed budget which relies on cuts to state spending to fill an almost half billion dollar budget shortfall.

The bill would also not require lawmakers to vote on increasing taxes, although it could increase property taxes at the local level. It leaves about $11 million in state coffers at the end of the year.

“It is a budget that will expend $5.4 billion in every area of state services,” said Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Overland Park, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

The Senate’s budget proposal relies partially on cuts to balance the fiscal year 2011 budget and looks to about $350 million in new taxes to fill the remaining hole. The budget begins July 1.

On Monday night, the Senate Ways and Means Committee passed out a tax package about $100 million smaller than its original proposal. The package includes a three-year, 1 cent state sales tax increase which would start June 1, and the elimination of a tax deduction for certain industries in the state worth about $17 million.