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Brownback estimates three-year tax revenue will boost Kansas by $156.4 million



Kansas on Thursday increased tax revenue estimates for the current fiscal year as well as the next two by a total of $156.4 million from a previous November projection as the state struggles with budget deficits.

For fiscal 2017, which ends June 30, the estimate was boosted by $62.5 million, while projections increased by $42.9 million for fiscal 2018 and $51 million for fiscal 2019. Reasons for the rosier outlook were not immediately available from Governor Sam Brownback’s office.

Tax cuts enacted in 2012 have gouged a hole in the Kansas state budget. After months of falling short of estimates, tax revenue met or exceeded projections between November and February, before slipping below estimates in March.

Brownback on Tuesday signed into law a bill that plugs a $280 million hole in the state’s current budget largely by borrowing money from a state investment fund.

The measure, which passed the Kansas legislature on April 6, taps $317 million in unclaimed property fund money held by the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. The money, which will be transferred to the state’s general fund over two years, would be returned over six years beginning in fiscal 2019.


Prior to the new revenue estimate, the budget gap for the next two fiscal years was pegged at about $1 billion.

A move in the state legislature earlier this year to increase revenue by raising tax rates and eliminating a business exemption failed when the Senate was unable to override the Republican governor’s veto.

Complicating the state’s finances is a March 2 state Supreme Court ruling that found the school funding system falls short of a constitutional requirement for adequacy. The ruling, which set a June 30 deadline for the enactment of a constitutional funding method, could require Kansas to increase school funding by more than $500 million each year.


Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings have said the ruling will put increased pressure on the state’s already shaky finances.

(Reporting by Karen Pierog, editing by G Crosse)

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Jeffrey Epstein’s IT consultant reveals he saw girls who ‘couldn’t have more than 15 or 16’ on private island



ABC News broke a story just after midnight Thursday about a former IT consultant of Jeffrey Epstein's who resigned because he couldn't take some of the things he was seeing on Epstein's private island compound.

The island, which has been called "pedophile island" by locals, had "topless women everywhere.

"There were photos of topless women everywhere," said contractor Steve Scully, who began working for Epstein in 1999 and continued for six years. "On his desk, in his office, in his bedroom."

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Stephen Colbert mocks Eric Trump in a way that must be seen to be believed



Stephen Colbert mocked Eric Trump so badly it has to be seen to be believed.

The moment came after Colbert played a clip of the young Trump child saying that 95 percent of the United States supports him, the camera cut to Colbert doing his Eric impression.

"I've got big gums, and I cannot lie," Colbert said.

"Yeah, 95, guys, I'm tellin' ya," Colbert said, pretending to be Eric with his lips curled up.

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Black Pennsylvania Trump voter wonders if he’s still welcome in the GOP



Tuesday, CNN released interviews with Texas Trump supporters who defended his racist attacks on four Congresswomen of color. Wednesday night, Van Jones showed his panel of supporters of both President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama. But things got tense when a Black Trump supporter was asked about the president's racially charged statements.

Two men, one white one Black, in the group said they supported Trump and probably would again because business was good. Two women in the group lamented that Trump's racism was hurtful for the country.

"I just go back to values," the older women said. "I value treating people with dignity. And if there is anything that is incongruent with those values, then I'm not for that. So I'm not going to put profit over my values."

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