Budget Woes Not Halting Statehouse Project

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas' budget crisis forces a few changes
in the Statehouse renovation but doesn't appear likely to slow it down.

The project began in 2000 and is scheduled to finish near the end of 2011. It's projected cost is $285 million, but that figure is likely to rise.

A new financial forecast says the state will have a $137 million budget deficit at the end of June. If the problem isn't dealt with, the gap could grow to nearly $1 billion by June 2010.

At the Statehouse, plans for two new staircases linking the first floor and basement have been scotched. House Speaker Melvin Neufeld says the savings is about $1 million for each.

But he and other legislative leaders don't expect to halt the work. The state is financing the project with bonds.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)