Gov. Sam Brownback’s staff downplayed the administration’s recent request that state agencies study the possibility of a 5 percent cut, describing it as a common budget practice. But given the state’s continued failure to meet its tax collection estimates, agencies better brace for actual cuts. That happened multiple times last fiscal year. Brownback announced $101 million in budget cuts and one-time transfers on July 30, 2015, then $124 million in cuts and transfers on Nov. 10, 2015, and then $17 million in cuts to state universities on March 10. Brownback also delayed a nearly $100 million payment to the state pension plan until fiscal year 2018 and delayed the June state aid payments to public schools until July. There is no reason to believe this year’s budget will be any better. – Phillip Brownlee
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