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Expectations lowered for tax collections in Kansas…and other headlines: November 11, 2016

andy lambertNovember 11, 2016
Kansas faces a $349 million shortfall in its current budget and more gaps in the near future after officials issued a new, more pessimistic fiscal forecast. The forecasters on Thursday slashed the state’s previous projections for tax collections through June 2017 by 5.9 percent, or $355 million. Kansas has struggled to balance its budget since slashing taxes in 2012 and 2013. The new forecast also reflects pessimism about agriculture and energy production.
Westar Energy says it is quickly filling subscriptions for a new 1 megawatt “community solar installation” west of Hutchinson. The utility says in a news release that construction on the installation will begin in December and the plant is expected to be in service early next year. That’s similar to the “community solar array” already online in Colby.
Federal prosecutors say there’s just not enough evidence to charge the owner of a Kansas grain elevator where an explosion killed six people and injured two others. U.S. Attorney Tom Beall’s office has closed its inquiry into the explosion at the Bartlett Grain Co. elevator in Atchison. That blast happened five years ago.
A man convicted of a killing in Douglas County from 1981 is set to be released from prison for the seventh time. The Kansas Prisoner Review Board recently decided to parole that man. He was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of another man. He’s already been released six times between 1992 and 2009. He was returned to custody each time for violating rules he was required to follow.
A convicted felon, arrested after he was found asleep behind the wheel of a running car in Kansas City with a handgun on the seat next to him. Police were called to the area, they removed the handgun and turned off the vehicle before waking the man up. He tried to run but didn’t get far, and is now facing a gun charge.

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