Budget, reactions spotlight divide


State News

January 18, 2019 - 3:17 PM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly outlined a proposed budget Thursday that would commit Kansas to higher spending on public schools, expand its Medicaid health insurance program — and cut the state’s annual funding for public pensions to help pay for her initiatives.

Kelly’s release of her proposed $18.4 billion spending blueprint for the budget year beginning in July gave Kansas residents a taste of what a divided state government is likely to look like. Her budget would be the largest ever, with total spending rising $1.2 billion, or 7.2 percent.

The budget plan also picks a political fight with top Republican lawmakers over their plans to pursue tax relief and in a statement she warned the GOP not to adjust income tax laws this year. Her budget director, Larry Campbell, told lawmakers that they should wait up to three years “for the ship to stabilize.”

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