Kansas Budget Process Timeline: Important Dates for Advocates
Karuva Kaseke | July 27, 2023
One of the most essential guidelines for budget advocacy is to start early. The current 2024 fiscal year just started July 1; however, planning is already underway for the upcoming 2025 fiscal year, which will run from July 1, 2024, to June 30, 2025.
(Download a print-friendly version of this budget calendar here.)
The budget is a long and complicated process, but that doesn’t mean advocates cannot influence how it unfolds! It’s important to remember the budget is developed in two main phases: before the start of and throughout the legislative session.
Phase 1 – July to December
The Governor prepares their Budget Report, which considers state agency requests, public and administrative priorities, and revenue forecasts. It is developed during the fall and presented to the Legislature at the start of the legislative session in January.
The early stages of Phase 1 provide a targeted opportunity for you to begin working with agency and budget staff to better understand programmatic needs and funding and to submit early proposals or recommendations that could be included in the Governor’s proposed budget.
Early proposals have the benefit of thorough analysis and vetting by agency and budget staff, and, if developed in collaboration with agencies, can be included in their strategic plans for a higher chance of passing in the approved budget. Phase 1 can also be used to begin building relationships with lawmakers and legislative staff, educating them on priority issues, suggesting ideas that deserve a hearing in the year ahead, and identifying legislative champions for your proposals.
Phase 2 – January to May
Getting priorities included in the Governor’s budget recommendation is just the first step in advocating for budget items. In the second phase, advocates must work to ensure their items are kept in the budget and accepted by lawmakers.
The Legislature considers the Governor’s budget, along with additional proposals from lawmakers, public hearings and testimony, and negotiations between the two chambers, to produce a joint approved final budget by the end of the legislative session. Lawmakers can accept or reject anything from the Governor’s proposal, which is why it’s crucial that advocates continue their efforts during this second (very busy) phase.
Phase 2 consists of more traditional advocacy and lobbying lawmakers to keep items in the proposed budget or have new items added through a standalone bill or budget proviso. This may include meeting with lawmakers and legislative staff, attending and testifying before budget subcommittees, engaging with coalitions and campaigns, and mobilizing the public around your policy priorities.
Advocacy Tip: Don’t be surprised if you don’t receive firm commitments from agency staff, the Governor’s Office, or lawmakers about your budget items. Budget proposals are not made public in the fall, and advocates typically must wait until mid-January when the Governor proposes their budget to find out what made it in. Don’t assume your advocacy is working or not from July to December — keep sharing your budget priorities with key decision-makers during this phase of budget preparation.
Key Dates and Advocacy Opportunities during the Budget Process
|Phase 1 July to December
Agencies receive instructions for developing budget requests. (July only)
Agencies amend strategic plans, update performance measures, and develop budget requests.
|Contact relevant state agencies with your budget proposals for consideration in the agency’s request.
Agency strategic plans and budget requests are submitted to the Division of the Budget. (September 15)
The Division of the Budget analyzes budget submissions in relation to strategic plans and available revenues and makes initial recommendations.
|Look for opportunities to engage with the Governor’s Office, lawmakers, and key legislative staff to provide educational tours, presentations, and materials about your budget priorities.
The Division of the Budget provides its budget recommendations to agencies. (November 10)
Agencies may appeal the Division of the Budget recommendations. The Governor makes final decisions and the Governor’s Budget Report is prepared.
|Meet with agency and Governor’s Office staff to continue support for your submitted budget proposals, providing additional information as needed.
|Phase 2 January to May
The Governor presents recommendations regarding agency budgets to the Legislature.
Determine if your priorities are included in the budget and to what extent. Contact House and Senate appropriation committee assistants to be added to mailing lists about hearings and notification of testimony requirements.
|The Legislature receives the Governor’s budget recommendations. House and Senate appropriation committees divide the budget among subcommittees for review with legislative staff.
|Contact lawmakers in House and Senate appropriation committees about your budget priorities and find a sponsor for a standalone bill or proviso, if needed.
|Appropriation bills are reviewed in both the House and Senate. Agencies explain their missions and strategic plans and present their budget requests to the Legislature.
|Continue communicating with lawmakers about your budget priorities. Attend committee meetings and submit verbal or written testimony during public hearings.
|The Governor may choose to issue budget amendments to revise recommendations that were made in January.
|Continue communication with Governor’s Office staff for possible budget amendment opportunities.
|Final budget decisions are negotiated in conference committees.
|Closely monitor appropriation committee calendars to track budget bill progress. While chances become less optimistic for new additions to the budget as the session continues, don’t give up until the final budget is passed!