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Kansas Lawmakers Begin Work On Spending Agreement

Kansas House and Senate budget negotiators have begun working on a spending agreement; they’ve also cast aside a bleak revenue report that could undermine a rosier economic forecast leaders are using to justify higher spending.

The talks started last night, just a few hours after the state Revenue Department reported that April’s tax collections totaled $92 million dollars less than expected.

State officials blamed changes in the federal tax code on capital gains and other income.

Governor Sam Brownback released a statement on the April report, saying “What we are seeing today is the effect of tax increases implemented by the Obama administration that resulted in lower income tax payments and a depressed business environment.”

Two weeks ago, analysts raised their forecast for Kansas revenue over the next 18 months by $177 million dollars.

Negotiators are considering spending increases for the remainder of the current fiscal year and the next fiscal year, which starts on July 1st.

These increases include $5 million dollars more for health care services for disabled residents.