Mast: State budget in better shape than many think

The 2014 legislative session has a lot of weighty matters to come.

KVOE began a set of legislative previews Monday with Rep. Peggy Mast appearing on the Morning Show.

Mast spent several minutes saying the economy isn't as dire as a lot of naysayers believe, relying on data showing the state's ending balance, while declining, will be well ahead of projections the next two budget years.

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Critics say tax revenue is below last year's marks even though it is trending along with or ahead of current projections -- and they blame other lawmakers for approving a so-called "glide path to zero" income taxes.

Mast also said education funding will see heavy discussion. The state has yet to learn what the Kansas Supreme Court's decision is on a lawsuit challenging a decision not to follow a court mandate to add $440 million to K-12 education several years ago. It also has to decide whether the current funding model is fair or flawed.

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Mast is suggesting the use of block grants as a temporary solution while a new formula -- and possibly a Constitutional amendment -- are discussed.

Legislative previews continue at 8:30 am Tuesday with Sen. Jeff Longbine and at 8:30 am Wednesday with Rep. Don Hill. The session begins Jan. 13, with Gov. Sam Brownback's State of the State address Jan. 15.

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