Governor Sam Brownback

KCUR

  The Kansas House approved a tax bill Wednesday that would raise Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature tax cuts.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, the proposed bill would include an end to a tax cut for roughly 330,000 business owners and generate more than $1 billion over the next two years, according to state estimates.

But Brownback said he won’t sign the bill if it makes it to his desk.

Citing weak economic trends and structural budget pressures, S&P Global Ratings revised the outlook on Kansas’ AA-minus credit rating from stable to negative Wednesday.

Feds reject Kansas' request to extend KanCare

Jan 23, 2017
KanCare.ks.gov

Federal officials have rejected Kansas’ request to extend KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program, saying it has failed to meet federal standards and risked the health and safety of enrollees.

As reported by The Wichita Eagle, federal investigators reviewed the state’s Medicaid plan in October and found that Kansas is “substantively out of compliance with Federal statutes and regulations, as well as its Medicaid State Plan,” according to a letter sent to the state Jan. 13 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Wikimedia Commons

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback wants to increase taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, among other things, to fill the state’s $378 million budget shortfall.

As The Kansas City Star reports, Shawn Sullivan, Brownback’s budget director, presented the governor’s tax and budget proposals to lawmakers yesterday.

Wikimedia Commons

In his State of the State address last night, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback talked about the state budget, Medicaid, the need for additional medical and dental care, and school funding, among other things.

Brownback said Budget Director shawn Sullivan would be presenting a "structurally balanced budget" today that Brownback described as balanced, in that it reconciles spending with available revenue and supports the core functions of state government.

Brownback also called for lawmakers to address the imbalance between state revenues and expenditures.

Kansas ranked fifth for most outbound movers in 2016

Jan 5, 2017
Wikimedia Commons

Kansas moved up a spot from last year in a ranking of the states most moved out of in 2016.

KCUR

 Gov. Sam Brownback cut Medicaid reimbursements by 4 percent earlier this year, as part of budget cuts aimed at covering the revenue shortfall in Kansas, and legislators see restoration of that cut as a top priority going into the next session.

The Wichita Eagle

Kansas has traditionally had a lower unemployment rate than the nation at large. But that looks to be changing next year, if analyst predictions hold true.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, the latest numbers have Kansas at 4.4 percent unemployment, slightly lower than the national average. But the U.S unemployment rate just dropped once again, to 4.6 percent. Meanwhile, experts expect the Kansas unemployment rate to rise to about 4.7 percent in 2018 based on current data.

Brian Lowry / The Wichita Eagle

Rural schools in the Sunflower State received some good news this week. Over the next two years, every Kansas public school could be equipped with high-speed internet, reports The Wichita Eagle.

This week Governor Sam Brownback announced that about 300 schools in Kansas, most of them in rural areas, will be equipped with fiber-optic connections to provide high-speed Internet access to students.

Flyhighplato

In western Kansas, meanwhile, a farmer and local officials were recently honored for their efforts to preserve water.

A Finney County farmer and the City of Garden City were recognized earlier this month at the Governor’s Water Conference in Manhattan for taking measures to conserve, reuse or adopt practices aimed at preserving the state’s future water resources.

The Wichita Eagle

Donald Trump’s proposed tax plan may look familiar to folks in Kansas, reports The Wichita Eagle.

That’s because the president-elect’s plan is very similar to Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s 2012 legislation, which Brownback referred to as his “real-live experiment.”

According to analysts, both plans include a rate cut for individual income tax. Both plans also require cuts to business income.

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadephia

Of late, the Kansas economy has been the worst in the country, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Stephen Koranda / KMUW

The Topeka Capital-Journal has obtained budgetary documents which the Brownback administration sought to suppress.

The documents show the implications of the Sunflower State’s potential 5-percent budget cut. If the cuts go through, they could include $17 million in spending reductions for prisons and a loss of nearly $7 million for children and family programs.

Bo Rader / The Wichita Eagle

The Kansas budget crisis doesn’t seem to be letting up.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, the Sunflower State missed its September revenue estimates by nearly $45 million. State lawmakers are now asking Governor Sam Brownback to act swiftly to fix the issue. Kansas is only three months into the current fiscal year, and the state is already in the hole by almost $70 million total.

Bo Rader / Wichita Eagle

The State of Kansas has enough money on reserve to last for a total of two days, according to a new study by Pew Charitable Trusts.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, if the Sunflower State had to exist solely on its cash reserves, the state wouldn’t last more than 48 hours. In 2012 and 2013, Gov. Sam Brownback urged GOP lawmakers to slash taxes. Ever since then, Kansas has struggled to balance its budget.

Thad Allton / Topeka Capital-Journal

Just how much is the Kansas budget crisis hurting individual Kansans? According to a recent report, every Kansas taxpayer carries a $6,500-a-person tax burden. By comparison Nebraska, Kansas’s neighbor to the north, which did not slash taxes, boasts a surplus of $3,500 per taxpayer.

Nigel Parry / CNN

Donald Trump leads Hillary Clinton by double digits in Kansas, according to a new poll.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, the New York billionaire is ahead of the former Secretary of State by 12 points, 48 percent to 36 percent.

Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein drew 8 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

In the race for U.S. Senate, Sen. Jerry Moran has a comfortable lead over his Democratic opponent Patrick Wiesner.

Kansas City Star

A new poll by a GOP polling firm has found a big problem for Kansas Senate candidates this fall, and his name is Sam Brownback.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

In Kansas, tax revenues for the month of August came in more than $10 million short of expectations, according to the Kansas Department of Revenue.

That means, notes The Lawrence Journal-World, in order to balance the state budget Gov. Sam Brownback may need to order more spending cuts.

AP photo

While the U.S. at large gained workers at a healthy pace last month, unemployment in Kansas is on the rise again. Kansas shed 5,600 jobs last month, sending the unemployment rate up to 4.1 percent in July. That’s up from its level of 3.8 percent in June.

Orlin Wagner / AP photo

Nebraska may want to look to the south for guidance, as two recent events in Kansas might provide some important budgetary lessons. Firstly, last week S&P dropped the Sunflower State’s credit rating for the second time in two years.

Chris Neal / Topeka Capital-Journal/AP

Last week The New York Times editorial board waded into Kansas politics to laud the decision by voters in the state’s GOP primary. Last Tuesday, moderate Republicans in Kansas scored a dozen “impressive victories” over their far-right opponents. The primary’s losers were all loyal to the state’s beleaguered governor, Sam Brownback.

Doug Mills / New York Times

This week’s Kansas primary election is being seen as a repudiation of Sam Brownback’s tax policy, reports The Wall Street Journal. At least 11 conservative state lawmakers in Kansas were ousted on Tuesday. Many were allied with Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

Three months ago, Standard & Poor’s Rating Services announced that Kansas had about a 50-50 chance of having its credit rating downgraded again. Last week, the bad news arrived. The company has downgraded Kansas from a AA to a AA- rating.

Only Illinois, Kentucky and New Jersey now have worse credit ratings than Kansas.

Joe Ledford / Kansas City Star

Kansas gained almost five thousand jobs in June and now has record employment for the state, reports The Kansas City Star. But those numbers belie a more trouble state of affairs. Kansas had the seventh worst job growth rate in the country over the past twelve months. The state’s growth rate inched along at only 0.2 percent.

nps.gov

This June, Kansas revenue collections fell approximately $33 million short of estimates, reports The Hays Daily News.

June marks the conclusion of a financially disastrous fiscal year for the Sunflower State. Over the past year, Kansas took in more than $100 million less than anticipated. Revenue sources have slumped—and, in some cases, plunged—during the past year.

Topeka Capital-Journal/AP

Sam Brownback is making some powerful enemies in his own state, reports The Topeka Capital-Journal. Four former Kansas governors have formed a political group to raise opposition to the policies of the current governor and his allies in the Kansas House and Senate. The effort is known as the Save Kansas Coalition. Former governors Bill Graves, Mike Hayden, Kathleen Sebelius and John Carlin have all sent out letters to potential donors to fund the effort.

Orlin Wagner / AP photo

A week after the New York Times editorial board took Oklahoma to task for the state’s failure to avoid a $1.3 billion—thus leaving the poorest in the state holding the bill—the Times has now put Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax policies in the crosshairs. The paper’s editorial, “Kansas Schools, Victims of Bad Tax Policy,” minced no words.

KHI news service

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Budget cuts to the Kansas Water Office should not result in any layoffs but could delay some reservoir maintenance projects, the head of the office said this week.

Jim McClean / KHI news service

From the Kansas Health Institute:

The 2016 election could be a tough one for some Kansas lawmakers hoping to return to the Statehouse.

Polls, editorials and reader comments on news websites indicate that voters are paying attention to what’s happening in Topeka, and many don’t like what they’re seeing.

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