Kansas faces growing shortfall

Forget $141 million.

The state budget shortfall this year is now about $186 million and growing, south-central Kansas legislators learned Thursday.

The new number was given to about 25 local legislators by Alan Conroy, director of the Kansas Legislative Research Department.

State revenue estimators pegged the expected 2009 shortfall at $141.2 million at the beginning of November.

But receipts for November and December have fallen $44.6 million short, adding to the gap lawmakers and the governor will have to close, Conroy said.

"I wish I had good news," Conroy told the lawmakers.

But, he said, "the general fund is in a precarious situation," with the national economy in a downturn, and is likely to grow worse.

The projected shortfall for the 2010 budget is about $1 billion.

The state has faced shortfalls before, but Conroy said this situation is unique because of the expected length of the recession.

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