Key part of Kansas governor’s budget plan in trouble

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A key part of Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s budget plan appears doomed, creating potential trouble for her proposals to boost education funding and expand Medicaid.

Opposition hardened swiftly Friday, a day after the Democratic governor proposed cutting the state’s annual payments to its pension system for teachers and government workers.

The move would free up $145 million during the budget year that begins in July to allow Kelly to increase spending on public schools, expand Medicaid health coverage for the needy, finance other initiatives and maintain healthy cash reserves.

The pension system’s board of trustees voted unanimously Friday to condemn the proposal. Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature also have criticized it.

Budget Director Larry Campbell said that the proposal makes pension payments more manageable without endangering retirees’ benefits.

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