Topeka 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.