Advertisement

Archive for Tuesday, January 28, 1992

STATE SENATOR CONSIDERS BUDGET NO. 1 PROBLEM FOR LEGISLATURE

January 28, 1992

Advertisement

Sen. Richard Bond, R-Overland Park, said Monday in Lawrence that some state lawmakers are calling the 1992 Legislature the session from FEAR.

"That's fear of finance, education, abortion and reapportionment," Bond said at a Rotary Club luncheon at the Lawrence Holidome.

Bond, a frequent ally of Sen. Wint Winter Jr., R-Lawrence, said all 50 states are experiencing financial problems.

Much of the budget problem stems from growth of federally mandated programs that don't come with federal funding to operate them, he said.

"Governor (Pete) Wilson of Califorinia, when he came into office, said if he were to lay off all school teachers, shut down the state universities and let all the prisoners out, the state would still be running in the red," Bond said. "Kansas has a lot of tough problems, but nothing like that."

Bond said that beyond the state budget, the major issue confounding the Legislature is the effort to settle on an equitable way to finance public schools.

"SCHOOL finance is like a Russian novel," he said. "It's very long, very complicated, no one understands it and in the end everyone gets killed."

Schools rely on property taxes, and there are big differences in the amount of taxes levied from district to district, he said.

Bond said it's unacceptable that school tax levies range from nine mills to 98 mills in Kansas. A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of assessed property valuation.

Regarding reapportionment of Kansas House, Kansas Senate and congressional districts, Bond said significant population shifts from rural to urban areas would change the composition of the Senate.

"There will be considerable loss of power and influence in rural areas," he said.

BOND SAID the Legislature once again would get embroiled in measures aimed at limiting abortion and allowing imposition of a death penalty, but he offered no personal view on either issue.

Kansans should be able to vote on whether they want to allow casino-style gambling, Bond said. Gov. Joan Finney is a strong advocate of casino gambling.

He said he expects the Legislature to debate whether the Kansas Board of Education should retain control of the state's 19 community colleges, the issue of qualified admissions at state universities and, of course, budget matters.

The issue of higher education hasn't received much attention so far this session, he said.

"No one is talking about higher education. The governor's not talking about higher education," Bond said.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.