DAY 103: Kansas lawmakers closer on schools, face more talks on - KCTV5

DAY 103: Kansas lawmakers closer on schools, face more talks on taxes

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Kansas legislators are moving closer to approving a plan to increase state spending on public schools even as agreement keeps eluding them on raising taxes. (Caroline Sweeney/KCTV5 News) Kansas legislators are moving closer to approving a plan to increase state spending on public schools even as agreement keeps eluding them on raising taxes. (Caroline Sweeney/KCTV5 News)
TOPEKA, KS (KCTV/AP) -

Kansas legislators are moving closer to approving a plan to increase state spending on public schools even as agreement keeps eluding them on raising taxes.

The Senate gave first-round approval just after midnight Tuesday to a bill phasing in an increase in education funding of roughly $230 million over two years. Senators planned to take final action Wednesday. The bill is expected to pass and then will be sent to the House.

The House has its own plan to phase in a $285 million increase over two years. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in March that the state's $4 billion a year in education funding is inadequate.

Outside of school funding, Kansas faces projected budget shortfalls totaling $887 million through June 2019.

But the House voted 85-37 against a bill to raise $1.2 billion over two years with higher income taxes.

The bill was a three-tiered tax plan that would have raised income tax rates and end tax cuts.

Without a tax plan, both the House and the Senate will begin negotiations all over again on Wednesday.

“I’m very sorry about what happened over in the House. I hope that they can pull things together and get their work done pretty soon,” Democrat Senator Laura Kelly said.

“It’s just whether the will of the body is there to raise taxes at this rate or not. It appears that there’s certainly groups that want to see more raise. There are groups that want to see less raise," Republican Representative Steve Johnson said.

Wednesday marks day 103 of what was supposed to be a 100-day session.

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