The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 3, 1998 · Page 5
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 5

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Friday, April 3, 1998
Page 5
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THE SALINA JOURNAL LEGISLATURE FRIDAY, APRIL 3, 1998 AB V STATE BUDGET House adds big tab to budget bill Representatives put $61 million into additional aid to schools, highway improvements, libraries By JOHN HANNA The Associated Press TOPEKA — House members responded to good economic news Thursday by loading up their proposed $8.5 billion state budget with extra spending. The good news was an announcement by Gov. Bill Graves that the state collected $61 million more than expected in tax revenues during the nine months ending March 31. When representatives heard the news, they sent their staffs to work drafting amendments. By evening, House members — to the dismay of their leaders — had * added amendments to a Legislature budget bill that would have T QQO spent the entire amount. .Lc/cJO The bill contains most of the appropriations for the state's 1999 fiscal year, which begins July 1. The House approved additional money for public schools, aid to cities and counties, funds for future highway improvements and extra dollars for public libraries. The total tab: $61.4 million. • "It's like a drunken sailor," Rep. Henry Helgerson of Wichita, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, said as he watched the debate. "The drunken sailor keeps drinking. As he gets more and more alcohol in him, you need more and more money." T PENSION PLAN Under the House version of the budget, state spending would increase by about 5.2 percent, including a 4 percent pay raise for state workers. The Senate approved its own $8.5 billion budget proposal Wednesday. The final version of the budget will be drafted by a joint conference committee of three senators and three House members, and negotiations already are set to begin Monday. Under the House version of the budget, overall state spending would increase by more than $417 million, or about 5.2 percent. Most state workers would receive a 4 percent pay raise. The most expensive amendment to the House bill, approved 53-48, was offered by Rep. Terry Presta, R-Garden City. It set aside $25 million in a new highway trust fund, to be used for future highway improvements. Presta has argued that the state ought to prepare for a new highway improvement program by setting aside money now. The state still is finishing projects under a $3.15 billion program enacted in 1989. Rep. Phil Kline, R-Overland Park, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, had the uneviable task of trying to convince his colleagues to show restraint. He said legis- lators need to consider whether they will be building spending into the budget that will cause problems in future, lean years. "Are you doing it because it feels good?" he asked, rhetorically. But House members did a lot to make themselves feel good. Rep. Bill Reardon, D-Kansas City, proposed an amendment to add $18.5 million to the State Board of Education's budget for aid to the • state's 304 public school districts. Gov. Bill Graves proposed increasing the base budget for public schools by $35 per pupil from $3,670 to $3,705. Reardon's amendment would allow the state to increase the base budget by $50 per pupil, to $3,720. Reardon's amendment also would provide .$10 million in extra money to school districts with more than 1,750 students. GOP leaders told their colleagues school finance issues can be dealt with later, but 40 Republicans joined 43 Democrats in voting for Reardon's amendment. The tally was 83-35. "It's high time we fund schools the way they ought to be funded," said Rep. Ethel Peterson, D-Dodge City. The amendment on aid to cities and counties was offered by Rep. Bill McCreary, R-Wellington. He said it would help local governments finance much-needed improvements. The state collects tax revenues and automatically forwards a portion of them to cities and counties, for road maintenance and local property tax relief. But in recent years, the Legislature has placed limits on the revenue transfers. McCreary's amendment, approved 90-30, would remove those limits. Of Town Square Glider Rockers Anywhere in the WORLD with a Lifetime Warranty & FREE DELIVERY ADRIAN'S A to Z BUHLER, Ks. 316-543-2443 Mon.-Frl. 10-5, Sat 10-4 Roth IRA or Yadilional IRA? Fund yours with our Advantage III Annuity. 6.4% Effective Annual Interest Rate* 4% Guaranteed Interest Call Met WAV. I Farm Bureau Insurance 785-827-4426 Terry Burger 328 N. Ohio Salina, KS MBW euoEMi mmiH. INSUHUKS counw KFBHSU/WKfCOUPMY KfHSfS FXflU BUREAU Iff WSURAMCf COUPMY Rain Or Shine The Sauna Journal comes to your door every day, rain or shine. No matter what the weather, the Salina Journal is there for you! House, Senate differ on amount of increases for state retirees Senate bill would allow a one-time 2 percent bump for 5-year retirees By LEW FERGUSON The Associated Press TOPEKA — State retirees, who have not had their pensions increased in four years, likely will have to wait until the Legislature's wrap-up session at the end of the month to learn whether they'll get a raise this year. The issues of whether to give the 50,000 pensioners automatic annual cost-of-living increases, and how to pay for whatever pension enhancement eventually is approved, appeared headed to a conference committee Thursday after the House and Senate approved different bills. The Senate passed, 34-4, and sent to the House a proposal championed by Sen. Dave Kerr, R- Hutchinson, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. 'It would provide those retired at least five years with a one-time 2 percent bump in their pensions, at a cost of $37.5 million to be paid now. All three Topeka senators with large numbers of retirees in their districts — Democrats Anthony Hensley and Marge Petty and Republican Alicia Salisbury — voted for. the bill, along with Sen. Janis Lee, D-Kensington. The House passed, 92-29, and sent to the Senate a plan supported by a strong coalition of Republicans and Democrats. It would give those retired five years or more an automatic annual cost-of-living benefit increase of up to 2 percent — depending upon the rate of inflation and would cost $8.5 billion, to be spread over 35 years. Senate debate focused on whether to accept Kerr's proposal, or substitute Gov. Bill Graves' plan to grant a one-time increase to Kansas Public Employee Retirement System retirees of 3 percent and pay its $83.5 million cost out of the general fund rather than add to KPERS' $1 billion unfunded liability. Sen. Christine Downey, D-Newton, offered the amendment to substitute Graves' 3 percent pension increase for Kerr's 2 percent proposal. Graves' plan would apply to those who have been retired at least one year. "The issue is how to treat retirees who have been without a cost-of-living increase for four years, and how you treat the governor's proposal," Petty said in supporting Downey's motion. Downey's amendment lost, 2514, with Sen. Lana Oleen of Manhattan the only Republican voting for it. "While this is an improvement," Kerr said, "it still more than doubles the cost to the state of Kansas. And it ignores the fact that everyone who retired after July 1, 1993, got far more than those who retired before that time." Kerr said those who retired between 1993 and 1997 got pensions worth 10 percent more than those who retired prior to 1993. LA-Z-BOY Recliners Mon.-Thurs. 9-5:30 Fri. - Sat. 9-5:00 Credit Terms Free Delivery WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING PRESENTS LIVE AT £• BICENTENNIAL CENTER. MAY 8 P.S..-J ?'<!*<•• M/--' i*5- K'.Yi t& TICKETS: $25 50 ,$18 5 U$12 50 . 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OUT TINE TILLER 21A-340000 3764941 MOWER TRIMMER MURRAY 3.S HP. 20" GUT MOWER Not pictured. 20104 3.8 HP. 20" CUT MOWER W/REAR RAG6ER 20407 37S2S73 5-Speed, Enduro XL1C °^ er head valve engine. Height adjustment. 38710 2182806 Bag Sold Separately 4CU.FT. WNEELMRRQW S4 3278330 789°° 827-8774 1*800-2*9-8774 2450 S. Ninth Street Salina, KS See store for details HOURS Mon.-Frl. 7:30-9 Sat. 7:30-9 Sun. 9-5 It Is our goal to have every Item In *toch. Therefore wo roserve Uw right to llmll quanlittos. Due lu the large varluly of products In our store wm*e iumis may vary slightly from the illustration Althauaii wo can not be hekl responsible (or printing error*, we will make every ttffort lo clarify any confusion these or rot* any have caused. All warranty Information is available at the service counter

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