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New Forecast Shows KS Facing Big Budget Deficits

Stephen Koranda
KPR/File photo

A new revenue forecast shows Kansas needs to cut $279 million dollars to balance the current fiscal year's budget.

A $436 million-dollar deficit is ahead for the coming fiscal year.

Governor Sam Brownback says tax cuts he pushed would cause lower collections in the short term, but the revenues will rebound as the state's economy grows.

The governor's budget director, Shawn Sullivan, agrees.

"Yes, growth will close the shortfall down the road. Now, for this year, for '16 in particular, so over the next 18 months, we're going to need to find efficiencies, develop policy proposals to help us plug the budget shortfall," says Sullivan.

Democratic state Senator Anthony Hensley says education and other parts of government could feel the budget carving knife.

"They'll have to cut schools, they'll have raid the transportation plan. You can't find enough efficiencies or enough growth to make up these devastating numbers," says Hensley.

Governor Brownback has the power to make budget cuts, called allotments...but it's not clear if he'll do that before lawmakers return to the Statehouse in January.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and High Plains Radio covering health, education and politics.