DALLAS — The Kansas House adopted a $14.4 billion budget for fiscal 2013 late Tuesday that takes money from Department of Transportation revenues to raise public education funding by $50 million.
The spending plan was approved by 77 to 44, shortly before midnight, with every Democrat voting no. Republicans control 77 of the 125 seats in the House.
The Senate passed a budget May 1 for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Its version added $77 million to public education and left transportation revenues intact. The differences in the bills are to be reconciled this week in a conference committee.
Lawmakers must approve a compromise spending measure by Friday, when the regular session will end, or else extend their stay in Topeka.
The House proposal increases state aid to local districts by $25 million, with a $37 increase in the per-student stipend. Another $25 million is earmarked for local tax relief to property-poor districts.
The extra House funding would be provided by reallocating $25 million of Kansas Department of Transportation revenues in fiscal 2013 and again in fiscal 2014. The amendment authorizing the shift was adopted by a 99-17 vote.
The Senate version adds $50 million of state aid with a per-student increase of $75, and would draw on an expected state surplus to provide $27 million of local tax relief.
Rep. Clay Aurand, R-Belleville, who proposed the KDOT transfer, said it was the only money available for additional school funding.
Aurand, the chairman of the House Education Committee, said House rules require spending increases for one sector to be compensated by budget cuts elsewhere. The differences in the amount of funding should be easily reconciled, he said.
“I think our dollar amounts are getting closer together,” Aurand said. “Where it comes from will get worked out.”
The House rejected a pay raise for some state employees. The raise would have cost $8.5 million, which would have been taken from the attorney general’s water litigation efforts.
The raise would have been the third annual increase in what was to have been a five-year effort to bring lower-paid workers closer to a private-sector wage level.
A proposal by Rep. Annie Tietze, D-Topeka, for a 1% pay raise for state employees was also rejected. She said the money for the pay raise could be financed with an expected state surplus.
“We have the money,” Tietze said. “There comes a time when what we have to do is right.”
The official Consensus Estimating Group in April raised expectations for fiscal 2013 general fund collections to $6.41 billion, an increase of $123 million from the November 2011 estimate.
The revenue panel expects fiscal 2012 general fund revenues will total $6.38 billion.