Kansas lawmaker sees investment fund as option

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas House Appropriations Committee's new chairman says tapping a $320 million state investment fund is an option worth considering amid the state's budget woes.

Republican Rep. Troy Waymaster of Bunker Hill said Tuesday the possibilities include making a loan or sweeping the fund to help finance general government programs.

Kansas faces a projected $342 million shortfall in its current budget. Some lawmakers have said one-time accounting moves could close the gap to avoid immediate spending cuts.

Legislators created the investment fund in 2000 to boost the state's interest earnings. State Treasurer Ron Estes has said it could realize about $40 million in investment gains if it liquidated the fund.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback was giving the annual State of the State address Tuesday and outlining his budget proposals Wednesday.