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Legislature Prepares For Budget Meetings

Kansas House and Senate negotiators have delayed the start of talks aimed at smoothing out differences between the budgets passed in each chamber.

The meeting originally scheduled for early Monday afternoon was canceled because the Senate had not yet officially appointed that chamber's three negotiators.

Marc Rhoades, a Republican from Newton, is the lead House negotiator. He said one of the biggest differences is a cut to higher education funding. The House budget includes a 4 percent cut to colleges and universities, totaling about $30 million. The Senate budget has a 2 percent cut and some other targeted reductions. Rhoades believes they will be able to come to an agreement.

“We might have a discussion on the percentage difference, but I think it will be something. Either we’ll stick to our 4 (percent), or it will be 3 or 3-and-a-half or whatever. There’s a myriad of ways we can do it,” Rhoades said.

Gov. Sam Brownback did not recommend cuts to higher ed in his budget proposal. The negotiators are now scheduled to meet Tuesday morning.