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Archive for Friday, April 13, 2001

Speaker reiterates no-tax-hike stance

April 13, 2001

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Hey, Chancellor Hemenway: They can't hear you.

Kansas House Speaker Kent Glasscock said he and a majority of representatives are unlikely to approve tax increases when lawmakers return to session later this month.

"I'm reluctant to apply a long-term solution to a short-term revenue problem," the Manhattan Republican told Journal-World editors Thursday.

Kansas University Chancellor Robert Hemenway told the Topeka Capital-Journal editorial board earlier this week that lawmakers should raise taxes to better fund higher education. His comments were repeated in newspapers statewide courtesy of The Associated Press.

Glasscock said some lawmakers might return from recess juiced for raising tax, but as many or more won't.

That despite increasingly gloomy budget forecasts that have schools, universities and their presidents, senior citizens, state employees and others sweating potential cuts or flat state spending in the months ahead.

Lawmakers recessed last week after approving a $9.1 billion budget. They must return to approve final spending measures and resolve a $205 million gap between planned spending and projected revenues.

Glasscock said the gap doesn't signal "meltdown."

The budget problem, he said, can be resolved by "prudent" program cuts, perhaps in combination with accounting adjustments that could free up several million dollars now held in reserve because of the state's ending balance or "rainy-day" law.

He wouldn't say which programs might or should be reduced or eliminated.

Supt. Randy Weseman of the Lawrence school district has warned of layoffs, if state spending on schools drops.

Glasscock predicted there will be an increase in per-pupil state aid to public schools. But he wouldn't say how much.

He also said he is "hopeful" that base budgets for state universities will be restored along with renewal of an expired state grant for university technology. Those two items would cost about $10 million, he said.

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