Daily Archives: Nov. 5, 2009

At least $258 million more in budget cuts expected in Kansas

TOPEKA — The state will have to cut at least $258.8 million to balance the current budget by the end of the fiscal year, revenue estimators said Thursday.

The state is expected to bring in about 4.2 percent less in 2010 than forecast in April — or $235.2 million less, the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group said.

The projected minimum budget cut doesn’t include an estimated $155 million public schools are likely to need to cover increased student populations, special education and a jump in students qualifying for free and reduced lunch. That number swells the cuts needed to balance the 2010 budget, which ends June 30, to $459 million.

Not including the additional money for schools is the equivalent to cutting about $150 from per pupil state aid, said Alan Conroy, director of the Kansas Legislative Research Department.

No matter which number is used, “it’s a tremendous hole,” said Sen. Jay Emler, R-Lindsborg, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, which handles the budget.

Either number is likely to result in more cuts to public schools.

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Kansas revenue estimates put current budget in the red

MoneyTOPEKA – Revenue projects released Thursday evening put Kansas’ current budget in the red by the end of the fiscal year if nothing is done.

Revenue estimators decreased the amount the state was expected to bring in 2010 by $235.2 million, or 4.2 percent below prior estimate.

The initial estimated for fiscal year 2011, which begins July 1, is $122.2 million or 2.3 percent below the current year’s revised estimated of $5.3 billion.

“The recession in Kansas in not over in the current fiscal year but there are signs of recovery and we are anticipating those signs will increase as we get to 2011,” said Alan Conroy, director of the state Legislative Research Department. Read More »

Ashcroft backs Tiahrt in Senate race

Former Missouri Sen. John Ashcroft, once one of the country’s leading conservatives, has endorsed Rep. Todd Tiahrt in his race for the Senate in Kansas.

“Conservatives across this country are yearning for principled conservatives in Washington,” Ashcroft, attorney general under former President George W. Bush, said in a statement. “I feel strongly that Todd Tiahrt can help provide that common sense conservative leadership in the Senate.”

Tiahrt is seeking the Republican nomination to the seat being vacated next year by Sen. Sam Brownback, who is running for governor. Kansas Republican Rep. Jerry Moran is also seeking the seat.

Ashcroft, a former Missouri governor, served one term in the Senate. He also explored a run for president prior to the 2000 campaign.

The IRS may be trying to find you — to return money

The taxman is looking for 708 Kansans, but to return money –- more than half a million dollars overall.

On Thursday, the Internal Revenue Service released its list of taxpayers whose refund checks have been returned to the department. The average amount owed to Kansans is $837, a department release said.

Most often, the checks are returned because the person filing has moved for some reason, such as a college student or couples who got married or divorced, said Michael Devine, IRS spokesman for Kansas and Missouri.

In Sedgwick County, the IRS has been unable to deliver refund checks to 118 people, totaling $80,488, for an average refund of $682. That is down from 2008 when the department could not return checks to 125 people who were owed $774 on average. Read More »