Parkinson to address more cuts to budget

TOPEKA — Gov. Mark Parkinson will announce more cuts to the state budget this morning.

The announcement follows February revenue numbers that showed tax receipts lagging expected revenue by about $71 million.

Lawmakers already had expected a $400 million-plus shortfall for the fiscal year 2011 budget, which starts July 1.

Parkinson, a Democrat, announced cuts to the current budget totaling about $260 million in November. Among the areas hardest hit were highway maintenance, education and Medicaid reimbursements.

The governor had hoped to avoid another round of cuts. He has said further cuts could cripple state government.

Since then, Parkinson has pushed for lawmakers to increase taxes, including a three-year, 1 percent increase in the state sales tax and increases to tobacco and cigarette taxes. The increases would help next year's budget, but not this year's.

The tax proposals have gained little traction so far.

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. today.