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Archive for Friday, August 5, 2005

Sebelius, Republicans both take credit for state’s economic growth

August 5, 2005

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— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Thursday claimed credit for the state's economic rebound, but Republicans said credit is due to the GOP-dominated Legislature.

Under the heading "Kansas economy continues to grow under Governor's leadership," Sebelius, a Democrat, issued a news release that touted the increase in jobs, revenues flowing into state coffers and budget efficiencies.

"The dedication and entrepreneurial spirit of hard-working Kansans continues to drive our economy forward," Sebelius said.

But Republicans said if it wasn't for them, Sebelius would have been taking more in tax funds from working Kansans.

"The economy is getting healthier," said State GOP executive director Derrick Sontag. "A large part of the reason for that is that Republicans in the Legislature wouldn't go along with her tax increases."

In 2004, Sebelius proposed a $300 million increase in sales, property and income taxes over three years to help fund public schools. But the proposal failed in the Legislature in which Republicans hold significant majorities over Democrats.

Many Republicans have argued that a tax increase would have hurt the economy.

Last month, under order from the Kansas Supreme Court, the Legislature approved an approximately $290 million increase for public schools, although no statewide taxes were raised. The increase is being funded by higher-than-expected revenues from tax collections.

When Sebelius took office in 2003, she faced a cratering budget brought about by the recession after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

State government's cash reserves were nearly zero, but since then have increased to $480 million, about 10 percent of the state general purpose revenue fund.

Sebelius said strict budgeting and $159 million in budget efficiencies have helped rebuild the state budget.

The Kansas Department of Administration has put together a list of budget efficiencies that include a wide range of items, such as a tax amnesty program that brought in $30.7 million to buying timers to turn out lights in the Docking State Office Building, which has saved $450,000 over three years, the agency said.

Comments

Richard Heckler 9 years, 4 months ago

Derrick Sontag does not know what he's talking about. What he said is pure speculation. More political rhetoric than fact.

The fact of the matter is a very excellent and well financed public school system draws economic development to any state or community...that is not a new concept. The Lawrence school district has dropped 3 levels in the nation wide ratings. People across the country have been paying attention to the Topeka,Kansas legislature for a number of reasons and the folks we know are not impressed.

My speculation tells me that Derrick Sontag is getting his marching orders from Washinton D.C. neo-cons who are not important to Kansas. The D.C. based neo-cons bring outside money into our elections and too many Kansas legislators make promises to these organizations. We need politicians who put Kansas first.

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