VIDEO: Gov. Brownback’s budget makes cuts to education, state agencies

Rebecca Zepick / State of the State KS

Staffers for Kansas Governor Sam Brownback (R) unveiled the Governor’s budget plan to state legislators Thursday.

Brownback proposed to take $200 million from the highway fund to balance this year’s budget, but the state will still be $488 million short as of July 1.

Brownback’s policy director said he expected legislators to help find answers to the budget problems but said that cutting government was essential to pulling Kansas out of the recession.

Brownback policy director Landon Fulmer said, “We want to move Kansas forward with more stable budgets, less state involvement in the private sector in a growing economy.”

But some legislators questioned the plan and expressed concern that schools would take a major hit.

“They’re going to come up $50 million short this year, they’re going to come up $107 million short next year, and $85 million short the third year,” said Senate Vice-President John Vratil (R). “And that’s going to translate into a lot of teachers loosing their jobs.”

Brownback proposes to cut $9.2 million by eliminating or consolidating eight state agencies including Kansas Public Broadcasting, the Human Rights Commission, Kansas Health Policy Authority, the Juvenile Justice Authority and the Parole Board for prisons among other agencies.

The proposed budget is one of many bills that will be introduced in the next 90 days as the Kansas legislature tries to find answers to the budget shortfall.