The Kansas House advanced a budget plan Monday that provides for a 2.5 percent pay increase for state employees and puts the future of the Docking State Office Building in motion.
The legislation also sets aside more than $50 million for programs administered by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services.
"All and all, I think this is a very good budget that fills some crucial and deserving needs," said Rep. Kathy Wolfe Moore, D-Kansas City.
Wolfe Moore said lawmakers will have to be cautious about further spending needs because budget projections show the state under water within a few years. Lawmakers in the House still need to give final approval to the budget before meeting with Senate counterparts to hash out differences.
Both plans follow Gov. Laura Kelly's recommendation to abandon a contract with Maximus, the embattled clearinghouse for Medicaid applications, and return more than 300 employees to the state.
On the House side, state employees would get a 2.5 percent pay increase. Those who work in the judicial branch would still get the salary enhancements Kelly requested, but they would be phased in over five years.
Overall, the House plan appropriates $18.2 billion in spending with a $7.7 billion impact on the state general fund.
The budget reflects earlier decisions to send $115 million to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System and dash Kelly's hopes for saving $160 million next year by refinancing.
Included in the legislation is a directive for Kelly's administration to provide a survey of options for the deconstruction, repair or renovation of the Docking building, which is part of the Capitol complex in downtown Topeka. A previous directive banned Kelly's predecessors from making plans on the building after employees there were relocated through long-term leases in other buildings.
Under KDADS, the House budget adds $13.4 million for home- and community-based services, $6 million in services for intellectual and developmental disabilities, $13.6 million for nursing facilities, $3 million for community health centers, $4.8 million for psychiatric residential treatment, and $12.4 million for a program that serves the elderly.
The budget also retains some of the governor's recommendations for child welfare reform, including the addition of 52 workers and participation in the federal Families First program.
Wolfe Moore said the federal program will help keep kids in their homes and out of the foster care system.
"With this bill, we're making some excellent strides in our work in foster care," she said. "That was probably one of our biggest, most emergent needs."