Archive for Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sebelius orders 3 percent budget cuts across state, including higher ed

Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius is asking state agencies and universities to cut 3% from their budgets.

November 5, 2008, 2:42 p.m. Updated November 5, 2008, 4:36 p.m.


In the face of dropping tax revenues, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday directed state agencies to cut $60 million and warned that deeper reductions could be on the way.

"Agencies have already begun hiring freezes, they've stopped capital purchases, they've been making other changes, but those efforts need to be increased and extended," Sebelius said.

She said the 3-percent cut, which would include higher education, represented a first step and that bigger cuts "are almost certain to be necessary" in the next fiscal year.

Sebelius said she wanted to hold harmless public school finance, social services and debt service. She also said a tax increase to help bridge the budget gap was probably out of the question because it would fall hard on Kansas families.

"I don't think tax increases at this time and this juncture either would be politically viable or have a positive impact on our overall situation with folks struggling to make ends meet," she said.

The action comes a day after state budget experts said that when lawmakers start the 2009 legislative session in January, there will be a $137 million shortfall. If nothing is done, that could balloon to nearly $1 billion for the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2009.

The state budget is suffering from downward projections in income taxes caused by the national economic downturn.

Sebelius had earlier requested a 1 percent to 2 percent budget cut, but said more cuts are necessary because of the new revenue estimates.

Reginald Robinson, president and chief executive officer of the Kansas Board of Regents, said the regents will probably ask the higher education institutions to follow Sebelius' lead.

Robinson said higher education officials aren't happy about proposing budget cuts, but added there wasn't much of an option.

"Revenues are tight. You can't plan to spend money that may not materialize," Robinson said.


madcow 9 years, 6 months ago

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tomwbarker 9 years, 6 months ago

What happened to increase spending and over taxing the wealthy and businesses. . . did she not get the memo???

feeble 9 years, 6 months ago

XD40 (Anonymous) says:Why should K-12 be exempt? That's the money pit. Cut education and do the taxpayers of Kansas a favor.=============================Who needs book larning when we got bibles, booze, butter and bullets? Say a Hail Mary and pass the Land o' Lakes!

deskboy04 9 years, 6 months ago

Look at the bright side...increased taxes for the T!

gccs14r 9 years, 6 months ago

Back in the 70s, we had a healthy middle class and one billionaire. Ronnie cut taxes and made dozens of billionaires at our expense. It's much healthier for the economy for there to be 250 million comfortable folks and only a couple of superrich, rather than 300 million paupers and a hundred superrich.

Paula Kissinger 9 years, 6 months ago

"Sebelius had asked agencies to trim current budgets by 2 percent. She said Wednesday that she has increased that figure to 3 percent."Note the wording...she "asked" them to trim the budgets. This is not etched in stone yet."Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, an Independence Republican, said the Democratic governor is "creeping in the right direction."Well, he got the "creep" part right !

Sigmund 9 years, 6 months ago

hawkperchedatriverfront (Anonymous) says: "Sigmund Lawrence won't learn, even with a University of higher learning here, the result seems to be lower learning."Sure they will. Economic realities always wins against ideology in the long run. That 3% cut in higher education is going to hurt those areas that have benefited the most, Lawrence and Manhattan. Citizens will eventually realize that no matter how noble the rhetoric, being a slave in a welfare state is far worse than keeping more of what you earn and being more self reliant. At least for those citizens that are productive.

Sigmund 9 years, 6 months ago

Taxing the city to prosperity is actually harder than you might imagine. The same is true for national and global economies. If increased taxes were the solutions to all problems we would solve all of our problems until we all would have no income, no wealth and governments and politicians would have it all. Evidently Lawrence, Kansas, and America will have to relearn that lesson the hard way.

LogicMan 9 years, 6 months ago

With next year's cut too, other than obvious (and immediate) hiring freezes what can they do to address this problem in all of KS higher ed?

Sigmund 9 years, 6 months ago

Well I guess the state will first dramatically increase the costs of the health care plan or decrease coverage for State employees. After all, President Obama promised to provide health care for those that lack and coupled with his tax cut tax cut for 95% of Americans, that should offset any state cuts, right? Next the State can get rid of their KEPRS obligations and the Feds will nationalize all private 401(K) plans into "Social Security." None of this will work with an aging population and shrinking workforce, of course, but it will delay the inevitable reality just long enough to get reelected so they will do it anyway.

Sigmund 9 years, 6 months ago

Lawrence real estate values will decline 5-10% this year leading to approximately 7.5% lower real estate tax revenues. With the slowing economy and highest sales tax in the state so will retail spending. Cash strapped residents will be buying any large ticket items online and in surrounding counties. But not to worry the new auditor, old what his name, will solve all the problems and businesses and employers will flock to the highest sales tax city in the state because we have empTy bus system.

absolutelyridiculous 9 years, 6 months ago

K-12 should be asked to cut too. And I'll be cutting my budget as well which includes over $600 for school fees next year. I hope the school board is prepared.

Thinking_Out_Loud 9 years, 6 months ago

K-12 isn't exempt because there is a Constitutional provision to provide for a fair and adequate education for all Kansas students. The State lost a lawsuit over that a few years ago.

LogicMan 9 years, 6 months ago

LJW: What has KU done so far and likely to do in the months ahead?

situveux1 9 years, 6 months ago

Cuts are always interesting. If they could have done without that extra 3% to begin with, why was it allocated?

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