- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 18, 2017

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - An attorney for Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes says Estes is remaining neutral on a key proposal from Republican Gov. Sam Brownback for balancing the state’s current budget.

Treasurer’s office General Counsel Scott Gates said Wednesday that if legislators liquidate a $317 million state investment portfolio, Estes wants the authority to re-establish one when state finances improve.

Gates testified before the House Appropriations Committee during a briefing on Brownback’s plan.

Brownback wants to sell off the portfolio investments and loan the funds to general government programs. The loan would be repaid over seven years.

Lawmakers created the portfolio in 2000 to increase the state’s interest earnings on its idle funds.

Kansas faces a projected $342 million shortfall in its budget for the fiscal year ending June 30.

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