The Kansas House Appropriations Committee last week gave its approval to a $5.1 billion budget for fiscal 2011 that reduces state aid to public education by $172 million. The tentative spending plan does not include any increases in state taxes.

The proposed budget calls for no increases in state contributions to the Kansas employee pension fund, puts a hiring freeze into place for some state agencies, and reduces the budget for most agencies by 1%.

Aid to pubic education will drop because lawmakers declined to make up for $172 million in federal stimulus funds that were in the fiscal 2010 budget but will be not available in fiscal 2011.

State aid to public education, which was $4,013 per student in fiscal 2010, will drop by $131 per student if the federal stimulus dollars are not replaced.

Gov. Mark Parkinson had asked lawmakers to make up for the lack of education stimulus funds and increase state aid by another $33 million.

Parkinson said lawmakers should consider tax increases before cutting agency budgets. He also rejected a statement by Republican leaders in the House that the state is “addicted” to spending.

“Since I’ve become governor, all I’ve done is cut spending,” Parkinson said. “I’ve cut more spending than any governor or legislator in Kansas history. So if I’m addicted to spending, I’m doing a pretty terrible job at feeding my habit.”

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