School board approves budget

At a special meeting of the Olathe Board of Education on Thursday, the board approved the 2015-16 budget, following a public budget hearing at 7 p.m.

The budget includes a slight decrease of the overall mill levy from 67.868 in 2014-15 to 67.768 in 2015-16. The budget passed by a 6-0 vote.

The complete agenda and supporting documents are available at http://www.boarddocs.com/ks/olathe/Board.nsf/Public.

Doubts grow about Kansas’ tax plan

By The Associated Press

TOPEKA, Kan. — Doubts grew among Kansas legislators Tuesday about whether they can approve tax increases necessary to balance the state budget without deep spending cuts that could lead to more-crowded classrooms and even layoffs of prison guards.

Three Senate and three House negotiators canceled a second consecutive day of public talks on tax issues. The Republican-dominated Senate approved a bill Sunday that would raise sales and cigarette taxes to help raise $423 million during the fiscal year beginning July 1, but members of the GOP-controlled House doubt it can pass their chamber. Continue reading

OP Mayor slams state’s budget proposal

By Tim Carpenter
timothy.carpenter@cjonline.com

Overland Park’s mayor denounced a bill scheduled for action Monday in the House requiring voter approval of budget increases advanced by city and county officials tied to escalation in property taxes.

Mayor Carl Gerlach said the legislation passed by the Senate on Sunday night could damage the ability of local units of government to properly support police and fire services or maintain public infrastructure.

“This is not the typical thoughtful policymaking process Kansans expect or deserve,” Gerlach said. “At the 11th hour and under great pressure to complete a state budget, the Kansas Senate enacted a major local budgetary policy decision impacting all cities and counties across the state without any committee discussion, without any public input, without a full understanding of the implications of this legislation.”

Continue reading

Big part of Brownback’s budget plan is in trouble

By John Hana
Associated Press

An $80 million piece of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan for balancing Kansas’ next budget is in trouble because a major health insurance company opposes it.

“The bill overall is in trouble,” House Insurance Committee Chairman Scott Schwab, an Olathe Republican, said Wednesday. “He’s going to have to come up with a different proposal.”

The proposal would increase a fee paid by HMOs to 5.5 percent from 1 percent. The state would use the new revenues to capture additional federal funds for its Medicaid program, which provides health coverage to about 368,000 needy and disabled residents. Continue reading

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