It's taken years for Sumner County to reach this point. On Friday, the state gave its final approval for the Kansas Star casino. The Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission approved background checks for Peninsula Gaming, which will now open a casino early next year.

With the approval, the state is $25 million richer from the privilege fee Peninsula Gaming paid for the casino. And that's a good thing, since Governor Brownback is already counting on that money to help balance the budget. It's just one of the places he wants to take money from.

The governor's budget proposal includes taking $38 million in gaming money to help balance the budget. He wants to use $18 million from the Dodge City casino and the $25 million deposit from the Sumner County casino to help fill in the $550 million budget hole. Normally the money is slated to go into the state's economic development initiative fund.

$200 million will also be transferred from the state highway fund. The reason the Kansas Department of Transportation even has that much money is because construction projects are coming in 21% under budget. "We're getting great bids on contractors because they're still hungry for work," said KDOT spokesman Tom Hein.

The savings will not only help fill the budget hole, but it still allows KDOT to move forward with what's planned. "We won't be able to do extra projects, but we'll do all that are promised," Hein said. He says at this point those projects are focusing on maintaining the existing highway system. He says very little expansion is planned at this point.

State senator Jean Schodorf says they are looking at every penny when it comes to balancing the budget.  She says what they can't fill in with other funds will result in significant budget cuts.  She says they've cut so much over the last few years that the next cuts will hurt.

Schodorf says lawmakers are still going over the governor's proposed budget.  She says it will be a little while before the house and senate come out with their budget plans. She says it will be a complicated and painful process, but in the end state law requires they balance the budget.