The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 7, 2001 · Page 4
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 4

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Salina, Kansas
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Monday, May 7, 2001
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Page 4
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A4 MONDAY, MAY 7, 2001 GREAT PLAINS THE SALlNA JOURNAL T STATE BUDGET At impasse Proposal to close budget gap with a fuel tax increase runs out of gas in the House By JOHN HANNA Vie Associated Press TOPEKA — Legislators were working Sunday to put together the deal that would end an impasse over budget and tax issues and allow them to adjourn their session. The House and Senate must agree on a plan for eliminating a $206 million hole in the next state budget. Crucial to that plan was a bill to increase gasoline and diesel fuel taxes by 1 cent a gallon on July 1, and another to increase taxes on insurance companies. House members rejected both tax bills Saturday, preventing a debate on the last spending bill of the year. All three won Senate approval Friday night. A coalition of Republicans who oppose tax increases and Democrats who want to rewrite the budget plan blocked passage of the tax bills in the House. GOP leaders faced trying to appease House conservatives or make concessions to Democrats, who are in the minority "So long as the conservative Republicans are not going to play ball, it means you have to cut a deal with the minority party," said Sen. David Adkins, R-Leawood, one of six negotiators who drafted the budget plan. "In the end, it always costs you more money to cut a deal with the Democrats." House Democrats wanted to increase the rates paid by the state to groups providing services to developmentally disabled Kansans, so that those groups could improve employees' wages. Advocates say those wages are too low and lead to high turnover. "We're looking at some options that may be very doable," said House Minority Leader. Jim Garner, D-CoffeyviUe. Sunday was the 12th day since legislators returned from their annual spring break and the 97th calendar day of the 2001 session. Only 1991's wrap-up was as long, although that year's session lasted 103 calendar days. The budget plan, drafted by three Senate and three House negotiators, requires modest tax increases to help close the gap between expected revenues and spending already signed into law for the state's 2002 fiscal year, which begins July 1. The plan also steps up the collection of delinquent taxes, increases traffic fines to raise money for state government, trims some spending from appropriations already approved, taps funds not normally, used to pay for general government spending and makes an accounting change. The votes Saturday in the House were 96-26 against the motor fuels tax bill and 77-45 against the insurance tax bUl. Fifty-two of the House's 79 Republicans voted against both bills. Joining those Republicans were 19 of the 46 Democrats. The motor fuels bill would raise $16.5 million through a pen- ny-per-gaUon increase, effective July 1, in the tax on gasoline and diesel fuel. Lawmakers had approved the increase in 1999, as part of the 10- year transportation program, but scheduled it to take effect in July 2003. That fact led supporters to call the bill an "accelerator" The insurance tax bill would cut a tax credit that companies receive against their Kansas payrolls. It would raise $10 mUIion. T SCHOOL FINANCE Negotiators ready to finish finance bill statewide property tax levy for schools is still an issue By JOHN MILBURN The Associnled Press TOPEKA — Senate and House negotiators were promising to get back to work resolving their differences on school finance. At stake is a bill that allocates more than $2.26 billion — nearly 52 percent of spending from the state's general fund for the fiscal year that starts July 1. The general fund is the largest source of money for state pz'ograms. The Senate has approved $67 million in new spending for schools, as recommended by Gov. Bill Graves in January Key elements include raising base state aid per pupil by $50, to $3,870; funding special education services at 85.3 percent of excess costs; and expanding a program for poor, at-risk 4-year- olds. Senators heavily amended a House bill to add their school finance plan and approved it April 28 on a 23-17 vote. The House, however, has not voted on a school finance bill this session but agreed to negotiations. Democrats have been vocal about the school finance plan and about claims by Republicans that thev have been able to hold the line on taxes. Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley said the Legislature's actions push the decision to raise taxes onto the state's 304 school boards. "By failing to adequately provide for our schools, the Republicans are increasing taxes," said Hensley, D-Topeka. "By approving a bare minimum increase for K-12 education, the Republicans are increasing statewide property taxes by $36 million." Those taxes would be raised by school boards through increasing in their local option budgets, which allow districts to raise additional revenue up to 25 percent of their budgets through property taxes. Among the outstanding issues before the negotiators was renewal of the statewide property tax levy for schools, which generates about $380 million. The Senate has approved a bill renewing the levy at the current 20 mills and exempting the first $20,000 of a residential property's appraised value. The House version would raise the exemption to $30,000 in fiscal year 2002, which starts July 1, and cut the levy to 18 mills in 2003. A mill is $1 in taxation for every $1,000 in assessed valuation. House and Senate tax committee negotiators have been at odds over the bill for nearly a month, with little movement. T FATALITY WRECK Hunter man dies in crash By The Salina Journal Erir; Ste7 ,-art, 24, Hunter, y/a.^ fatally injured early Sunday 'fj'nen his car rolled off thft r^;arj about 4 '2 miles west of Kan.-.aA Highv/ay 14 on 100 Blacktop Road near the Lincoln County line. Stewart was taken to Lincoln County Hospital, where he died. Mitchell County Sheriff's Deputy Marc Jackson said the crash is still being investigated. Jackson said it appears T CHARITY Stewart veered off the road and rolled the vehicle sometime between midnight and 3 a.m. Sunday. Stewart was ejected from the vehicle. It is unknown whether Stewart was wearing a seat belt. A memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. John Lutheran Church, Lincoln. A memorial foundation has been set up as the Eric Stewart Agricultural Scholarship Fund at Lincoln High School. Walk America raises $64,000 By The Salina Journal Salina's Walk America raised $64,000, the most ever locally raised, for March of Dimes Sunday afternoon at Jerry Ivey Park. There were 700 participants. The walk-a-thon, which started 31 years ago, raised about $71 million nationwide. The No. 1 local fund-raiser was Salinan Connie Dicke, who raised $2,000. The top team money-raiser was Salina Regional Health Center with $14,000. The money is used to prevent birth defects. FRii _ LAUNDRY PAIRS FOR EVERY BUDGET!! Includes ^ MtiNtofVtyriMi t\\\M Professionally complete Installed In-Home Service S^QM Guaranteed! per month No Equipment to Buyl ALL ROOM AIR CONDITIONERS ON SALE!! • 8.7K BTU • 10.0 EER 3 Speed 1329 $291 GET THAT FREE CHAMPIONSHIP FOOTBALL WITH ANY MITSUBISHI BIG SCREEN!! FREE Josh Heupel JLMITSU Autographed Foo'tball!^ 'gj},,' f {g SCREEN |00Q Natioflt >aiamp^ A Portion of Foundation" E I 50' • 2 Tuner Pic-ln-Pic '3S'Vjdeo Inputs •3D-y/CConib Filters • 5 Layer Multi-brand Illuminated Remote • Diamond Brite™ Screen with Mitsubishi big screen r ^^rrrrrnrrrTr 'wBTsCREEN^

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