More Senate budget talks

While many people are focused on the inauguration happenings in Washington D.C., work in Topeka goes on.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee, has resumed its budget conversations which will continue through tomorrow.

“We will take no final action on Senate Bill 23 today,” said committee chair Sen. Jay Emler, R-Lindsborg.

That means the full Senate will not debate or vote on a revised 2009 fiscal year budget, which would have to include about $186 million in cuts to meet projected budget shortfalls.

Initially, Senators on Friday had hoped to pass the measure. That plan got side railed by discussions about education fund.

The committee is currently listening to Deputy Commissioner of Education Dale Dennis discuss how various options would impact school districts.

Money, money who’s got the money – Senate budget debate heats up

TOPEKA — Watching Senate budget committee discussions Friday was a little like a shell game — in the end, no one found the elusive fix.

Trying to fill an expected $186 million-plus shortfall in this year’s budget, senators cut some revenue sources tapped by the governor’s proposed budget and tried to add money to a few funds.

The tweaks and edits took the 13-member committee about five hours, but it put off the most contentious issue — education —until Tuesday.

Normally, budget discussions don’t pop up until March, when the Legislature typically debates its main budget bill. But the shortfall could grow to $1 billion in the 2010 budget if nothing is done now. So lawmakers are starting the session with talk about how to fill the gap.

Nothing raised emotions more than money for schools.

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