Lawmakers Say Brownback's Budget Plan Doesn't Add Up

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Top GOP lawmakers already were upset by the idea even before Brownback outlined his school funding proposal in his eighth and final State of the State address Tuesday evening.

Brownback's proposed $16.8 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning in July would leave the state with a small cushion of cash reserves at the end of June 2019, without requiring another tax increase. Lawmakers are under pressure from the Kansas Supreme Court to correct unconstitutional flaws in the amount and manner state aid is provided K-12 schools.

Brownback ruled out tax increases to fund the boost to education funding but offered little details on how he plans to pay for the proposal.

"I think five years is too much", Hensley said. Kansas lawmakers face a mandate from Kansas Supreme Court to boost spending on public schools this legislative session. In essence, the House and Senate repealed Brownback's cornerstone supply-side tax policy of 2012.

The governor's proposed budget also includes extra spending to continue pay raises granted in the fall for officers in the state's stressed prison system, cover gaps in funding for state mental hospitals and raise reimbursements for hospitals and nursing homes providing services to the poor and elderly.

Brownback's Budget director, Shawn Sullivan, said he's not surprised by the reaction. "The strong revenue growth helps our budget situation".

Brownback is term-limited after winning re-election in 2014, and President Donald Trump has nominated him to serve as USA ambassador-at-large for worldwide religious freedom.

The governor's speech was laden with memories of his years as the state's governor and previously in the U.S. Senate.

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The tax increase approved previous year rolled back most of the past income tax cuts championed by Brownback in 2012 and 2013. He accused them of using the new revenues to finance unnecessary spending.

"Six hundred million dollars is a very significant investment", said Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.

Watch the Kansas State of the State live in the video player above.

By Adam Strunk Governor Sam Brownback wants to provide more funding for education.

Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, R-Overland Park, said the governor's recommendations for public education and changes in other areas of the budget - due to be released Wednesday - were a brutal parting gift to legislators from a governor eager to join the administration of President Donald Trump.

"I still have concerns whether on the outlying years with the increases the Governor has made through K-12 education, whether or not we're able to balance the budget", added State Rep. Troy Waymaster, R-Bunker Hill. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat running for governor.

"We (should) do the right thing by keeping children in families, but first, they have to be safe", Meier-Hummel said.