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House Leaders Disagree On Using State's Ending Balance

There's some disagreement among leaders in the Kansas House over using the state's financial reserves to help balance the budget. Tax and spending issues are still in flux, but Speaker Ray Merrick, a Republican from Stilwell, said while crafting the budget, negotiators should keep the reserve fund in mind.

“My personal preference is, if we need some of that--and I’m not saying take it down to zero--but if we need some of that, we use it,” Merrick said.

There's around $500 million in the ending balance. State law requires that legislators keep a reserve equal to 7.5 percent of annual state spending, but that is often ignored.

Marc Rhoades, a Republican from Newton, chairs the House Appropriations Committee. He'd like to keep the reserve intact, because it's required under law and legislators worked hard over recent years to build up the present balance.