Three decisions by the Kansas Legislature this week have raised the hopes of Sen. Wint Winter Jr. that fellow lawmakers are starting to see the light.
Since before the 1991 session began, Winter and all other legislators from Douglas County have said the state cannot fund needed education and social service programs without a tax increase.
Winter said three votes give him hope that the Legislature will begin adding revenue to important state services. He pointed to two votes in the House this week one rejecting a $30 million cut in the highway program and another adding $16.5 million to Kansas Board of Regent's funding along with the Senate's preliminary approval of a social service funding bill adding $27 million above last year's appropriation.
"I think the handwriting, if not already on the wall, is very close to the wall," he said. With the three votes, the Legislature "has just acknowledged that we've got to have more money, there's no question about it," he said.
In the Senate Wednesday, Winter said he expected lawmakers from Johnson County to oppose the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services budget because it adds funding that at this point has not been raised by lawmakers.
"I thought the criticism would come from Johnson County, where people have been adamant about doing anything (against) a tax increase," Winter said.
"It was almost a relief when the bill passed," he said. "We dodged a bullet."
Although he believes the SRS budget needs additional funding above what was approved, Winter said, "on balance, it continues the most critical safety net."