Archive for Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Senate Republicans deliver budget bill, ask for State Finance Council meeting

Sebelius hammers Republicans over government funding

Sebelius hammered Republicans for refusing to agree to issuing $225 million of internal government borrowing, called certificates of indebtedness.

February 17, 2009, 10:04 a.m. Updated February 17, 2009, 12:45 p.m.

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Message from the governor ( .PDF )

— An unprecedented state government showdown that has delayed income tax refunds and could jeopardize state employee paychecks continued to rage on Tuesday.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius issued a statement to state employees that their checks due Friday were in jeopardy because Republican legislative leaders refused to approve a fund transfer that has become routine over the past decade.

But moments after that message went out, Senate Republican leaders said they wanted to “address the state’s budget needs” in a meeting of the State Finance Council, which is chaired by Sebelius.

Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, and Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, R-Independence, urged Sebelius to call the Finance Council into session “so that taxpayers can get their refunds and state employees can be paid on time.”

There was no immediate word from Sebelius’ office on whether she would convene a meeting.

It was in preparation for Monday’s scheduled meeting of the State Finance Council that the financial dispute erupted.

Republicans demanded that Sebelius sign a budget-cutting bill into law before they would agree to issue $225 million in certificates of indebtedness, which would be used for cash-flow purposes to pay employees, Medicaid services, income tax refunds, school finance and other debts.

But Sebelius didn’t even have the budget bill yet. She and other Democrats said the cash-flow problem was separate from the state’s budget problems and shouldn’t be used to force her to sign budget cuts that she didn’t want.

“I can’t imagine that the Republican majority intends to shut down state government in a fit of pique, but you know you can’t tell,” Sebelius said.

On Tuesday, legislative leaders said the budget bill was sent to Sebelius at noon.

The Republicans said it would have been illegal to issue the certificates of indebtedness because the money won’t be available at the end of the fiscal year to cover them. But Democrats said that was simply not the case and that Sebelius’ budget director was ready to certify that the books would balance at the end of the fiscal year.

Officials at Kansas University, one of the single largest state employee sites, are monitoring the situation and keeping in contact with legislators and the state budget office, said KU spokeswoman Lynn Bretz. She said the university had addressed some calls and e-mails this morning, but did not want to fuel speculation about what would happen if state lawmakers fail to reach consensus.

"We have confidence that the governor and the Legislature will resolve it," she said.

Kansas’ 295 school districts are supposed to receive $185 million in payments at the end of the month.

The Associated Press contributed to this story

Comments

supercowbellninja 6 years, 4 months ago

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mightyquin 6 years, 4 months ago

I usually don't take sides in these political pi$$ing contests but I think the republicans better rethink their position. They are going to alienate a whole lot of folks who put their sorry buts in office if the state can't make payroll and has to shut down. They can't refuse to allow the loans and then blame the governor, that is just flippin foolish.

craigers 6 years, 4 months ago

Of course both parties are simply angels in this ordeal. Sebelius needs to approve the budget cuts and move on, just like the republicans need to pass the legislation in order to pay the state's bills.

If it is illegal for them to take out debt they won't have the money to repay, then the republicans are right. However, if they go ahead and make the certificates of indebtedness then Sebelius can veto the budget in order to make sure everything she thinks is right isn't cut in the budget. Both sides are grandstanding so the garbage of Sebelius is all at fault or the republicans are the ones to blame completely aren't looking at the whole picture.

Sigmund 6 years, 4 months ago

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SmallBeans 6 years, 4 months ago

Yeah. As business owner I tend to side with Republicans and am registered as one (I was 18, don't judge me!). However as a parent and teacher they are making me proud to claim to be a moderate. Stop bullying people and get the money where it is supposed to be. Maybe you should look at cutting some top heavy wages for once to make up some of the deficit...

youngjayhawk 6 years, 4 months ago

What's up with the Republicans? They need to grow up, swallow their pride, and work TOGETHER with the Democrats for the best interests of fellow Kansans.

Hey Republicans ... get over it!

roosmom 6 years, 4 months ago

great, hold kansas workers, kansas disabled and kansas families hostage as you fight this out. smart!

kugrad 6 years, 4 months ago

This is what happens when you elect a bunch of morons to the House of Representatives. A large number of people in the Kansas house never went to college. I know plenty of intelligent people don't go to college, but they also don't have jobs that require a college education for success.

I'm an independent. I think it is clear that the Republicans are to blame for this particular mess - particularly in view of their long standing control of the both houses in KS. It is their poor fiscal policy, not that of the Governors over the last 2 decades, that have put us in this mess. They have raised taxes repeatedly, but only on property owners. They do this through the back door, but cutting funds that are absolutely necessary, thereby requiring local governments to tax more. You can't expect a functioning state govt. without paying for it. I don't like taxes any more than anyone else, but the tax-cutting mentality got out of hand. Now the chickens have come home to roost. The legislature could solve this problem by passing taxes that are directly linked to programs the public clearly supports, with no chance of the $ going into the general fund. For example, polls have repeatedly shown that a LARGE majority of Kansans would favor a tax increase to support public schools IF the taxes were assuredly to be used for that purpose. Such a tax increase would have public support and not be political suicide.

The KS legislature has NO history of putting the people of Kansas first. They only know one game, politics as usual. They are swimming against the tide here, as the last election clearly shows Americans, including Kansans, are tired of this bull.

rtwngr 6 years, 4 months ago

Why shouldn't the business of government be run like a business? Why shouldn't balanced budgets be required? Why is it that every time there is a shortfall the leadership wants to "borrow" us out of debt? Has anybody ever succeeded in borrowing themselves out of debt? It can't happen at the state level and it won't happen at the national level either.

ksdivakat 6 years, 4 months ago

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Flap Doodle 6 years, 4 months ago

Did she make a long-distance call from DC?

Shane Garrett 6 years, 4 months ago

Logrithmic: All construction should be frozen? Does this mean repairs. I have a building that the lower ceiling is falling in. If students continue to walk on the floor above someone is going to get hurt. Most of these buildings are around 100 years old. Put the pipe down and think first. May God bless.

Jeanne Cunningham 6 years, 4 months ago

It's NOT that the state doesn't have the money. It's just not in the right account that needs it at this time. It would be as if you tried to tell YOUR employee that you couldn't pay him/her for work he/she had ALREADY done because you didn't have the funds in your bank account (when, if fact, you had more than enough in the cash register at the front of the store - or in the vault, whatever).

The "plan" the Republican legislature is wanting her to sign would DECIMATE education in Kansas - NOT only at KU, but K - 12. And, with the behavior being exhibited by the Republican "leadership", I know that Kansas NEEDS more, not less education.

Chic

TheYetiSpeaks 6 years, 4 months ago

Perhaps if Sebelius had been making decisions for the good of Kansas these last two years instead of making decisions based on impressing the Democratic Party we would not be in such a big mess.

frank mcguinness 6 years, 4 months ago

barrypenders (Anonymous) says… Kathy screws up and now needs republicans to bail her out. Typical

Hah, The repubs screw it up and here comes the conservatives to defend the policies of the Right. Typical

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 4 months ago

To every commenter who demands Sebelius "sign the bill" or "cut the budget," I would remind you that there is no bill for the Governor to sign.

Way to demand the Governor do something that is physically impossible. Perhaps she should also alter the weather patterns and fast forward us to summer? I would also like it if Kansas had some mountains, and am outraged the Governor hasn't created a range in Western Kansas!!!

Jeanne Cunningham 6 years, 4 months ago

Oh, yah, I forgot the "Did she make a long-distance call from DC?":

Why is it that anyone would think that having more representation from Kansas in Washington would be a bad thing? Regardless of whether you think it's going well or going badly there, wouldn't it make sense that the more we are represented, the better off we'd be?

Or, is it that you think it's only good when the representative is a Republican? Did you miss the fact that Kathleen Sebelius was elected TWICE by the people of Kansas? And, do you remember who was before her - Bill Graves, a MODERATE Republican? And, before her, Joan Finney, a Democrat? Are you seeing a pattern, here?

Some people in Kansas ARE getting educated pretty well... Chic

Random56 6 years, 4 months ago

Both parties knew about this problem for months. Kathleen S. has failed to agree with budget cuts and repubs aren't giving in either.Why can't they just meet in the middle?

Shane Garrett 6 years, 4 months ago

State employees have heard about or received a message regarding a cashflow problem in the state general fund and the State's potentialinability to fund this Friday's payroll. As the message states, this is a political game between the two parties at the State House over the FY 2009 budget bill. Bruce Shubert, Vice President for Administration and Finance, and Sue Peterson, Assistant to the President & Director of Government Relations, both indicated the 2009 rescission bill should be presented to Governor Sebelius sometime this week and signed soon after in time for this Friday's payroll.

Random56 6 years, 4 months ago

Wasn't this "bailout" for the states supposed to be signed by Obama this afternoon? Won't that fix everything?

Random56 6 years, 4 months ago

By the way some people talk in here it should a 1 party system, then there wouldn't be any opposition.

greenworld 6 years, 4 months ago

She said it's not on my desk yet so once again pawn the blame off on somebody else. Is this the same lady that was trying to run for vice president. lmao

nobody1793 6 years, 4 months ago

"Why shouldn't the business of government be run like a business?"

Which one, GM or Bear Stearns?

imastinker 6 years, 4 months ago

Some of you would rather the state take loans it can't pay back to pay for daily expenses?

Isn't that how we got into this mess in the first place?

Random56 6 years, 4 months ago

Education should be one of the last things that should get a budget cuts, we all should agree on that.

ryanfox 6 years, 4 months ago

I can't care about the petty political bull that goes into this stuff. I can however care about getting my paycheck on Friday to A) pay the bills and B) eat food. I am holding up my end of the legal binding contract I signed to serve citizens of Kansas, I would like to receive what I signed up for as requisite payment.

I refuse to care about Democrats, Republicans, etc. This is a promised paycheck we are talking about here.

Fix. The. Fu**ing. Problem.

I do not care about philosophy, theory, politics, etc. Give us the money now if you have to steal from another state. And fix the problem.

Dawn Shew 6 years, 4 months ago

We have all already worked the hours. We have all already made commitments to pay bills with the money we were contractually promised. If we are not paid, those bills are not paid. Including taxes OWED to the state. And the problem just cycles and escalates.

The state had no problem having me work for the past two weeks-- and it is legally bound to pay me for that labor.

Leave it to the wonks to decide what needs to be done in the future about this problem. But this week? I need to get paid. And in two weeks, if KS can't anticipate it has the $ to pay me, it had better not plan on me working for free.

It sucks to be laid off, but it sucks more to work for nothing.

Trobs 6 years, 4 months ago

I dunno, I was told I was causing a safety problem by driving the speed limit on K-10 and slowing the speeders.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 4 months ago

The GOP using the "legality" argument for Certificate of Indebtedness is a joke.

They themselves have already approved of this procedure in the past.

Sebelius is trying to solve a budget problem and the GOP are using this as an opportunity to hold her and the state hostage so that they can get their way with the budget bill.

This is childish foot-stamping at its best. Morris et al. should go back to farming or whatever and leave the serious business of running the state to those with serious and professional behavior.

DMH1983 6 years, 4 months ago

Random56-

I'm sorry, but I do think that things like new astro turf for Free State High School and a new Soccer complex for Baldwin High School are school expenses that should be cut. I also believe that school administrators should be required to ease the load by being in the classrooms. Schools account for 60% of our State expenditures so unless you want to cripple or eliminate all other goverment agencies - including Law Enforcement, Health departments, Correctional staff, etc - even the person that process your tax refund - schools are going to have to take some cuts too. I

Centerville 6 years, 4 months ago

check out http://www.redstate.com before you decide that the boys are being mean to the girl.

workinghard 6 years, 4 months ago

They had better pass a law real quick that no state employee can be penalized in any way for not being able to make a payment as a result of no pay. Had they known they could have worked somewhere else for money. So no utilities cut offs, credit card late fees, no evictions or late fees for rentals, and mortgage payment extensions with no penalties. Bills cannot be turned over to collection agencies and nothing can show up on credit scores. I see lawsuits coming costing Kansas millions

Chris Ogle 6 years, 4 months ago

I hope they don't forget cock fighting is going to be a felony.

Dragon_Wheels 6 years, 4 months ago

If state workers don't get paid, then Governer Kathleen Sebelius and Republican legislative leaders shouldn't get paid either, since they are state employees. This will be settled immediately if you threathen their income and well being. I am a little concerned about the strong-arm efforts being used to make the Governer sign a budget she claims to not yet have seen. What are they hoping to sneak by her or us? Or is she blatantly lying to us?

ThoughtPonderer 6 years, 4 months ago

Most state employees do not get paid "the going rate" as it is. Why would the Gov expect them to go to work whether or not they get a paycheck (for work already done). There is nothing free in this life. The state of Kansas has pretty high expectations if they think they will get any work for free, let along quality work for free.

workinghard 6 years, 4 months ago

"I would hope that state employees will come to work whether or not they get a paycheck,” Sebelius said.

Now here is a couple of interesting ideas for JW polls. Should state employees show up for work, and also, will you show up for work on Friday if you don't get paid? Personally I guess I can wait for my refund if it means workers get paid. I know others would disagree, it's just my personal choice.

Jonathan Kealing 6 years, 4 months ago

Workinghard-

Ask and you shall receive. Poll posted!

Jonathan Kealing Online editor

BigDog 6 years, 4 months ago

Markets are once again in a freefall down another 282 points closing in on lowest point in 10 years...... that $787 billion spending package must not have calmed many nerves.

The economy is in a dive ..... eventually the Governor has to face the reality that you can't protect education without destroying much of everything else (that is without tax increase, which is stupid given the economy)

education makes up over 50% of the state's budget and you are $1 billion short in a roughly $6 billion budget (these are only state funds). Take education off the table .....afterall it has only received additional spending of $1.6 billion over the last four years. By excluding education from the equation you now have to cut 1 in 3 dollars ..... but wait there is higher education (about 15% of state budget) and required Medicaid spending (medical, nursing home, etc) ...... let's not forget children's programs and prisons ..... and law enforcement ..... and maybe even highway repairs (much of it is federal funds) .....

On top of 4.25% cuts in all agencies (except K-12 education) for current year, another 20% would be needed to balance states budget.

Without education, the state most likely will need to reduce spending by 20% in every other area ...... what does 20% cut do to tuition at state colleges? what 20% of prisoners would you like released or prisons closed? which highways do you not want repaired for a few years? which children's programs do you eliminate?

Dragon_Wheels 6 years, 4 months ago

"I'm sorry, but I do think that things like new astro turf for Free State High School and a new Soccer complex for Baldwin High School are school expenses that should be cut."


I agree wholeheartedly! If these things are so very important to the EDUCATION of children, then let their parents donate dollars, have fund raisers, find sponsors and so on. I don't have, nor have ever had, children, yet I pay huge amounts to send other people's choices, er..children, to school. I don't mind when it is to EDUCATE those that will be running our country in the years to come, doctors that will cure our ills, or teachers that will guide our future; they need to be well educated. I mind greatly when it is for things that are frivolous or have nothing to do with reading, writing, and arithmetic. Astro turf and Soccer complexes will not define American values, negotiate peace treaties, or find a cure for cancer.

TheQuestion 6 years, 4 months ago

Hi all. I am not well versed in politics, so had a question.

Are the republicans using state workers as leverage to pass this deficit reduction bill? Or are the $225 million of internal government borrowing (certificates of indebtedness) a part of the bill? Are they two separate things or are they negotiating points of the same thing?

If the certificates are not related to this bill, it seems that everyone ought to do what is necessary to provide the innocent state workers with what is due. Republicans should not use this crisis to force someone to sign some bill. Could someone tell me if I understand this correctly?

Shane Garrett 6 years, 4 months ago

Kansas taxpayers will fork over to provide infrastructure for the new biological weapons lab in Manhattan. Surely we could forgo that?

Folks, time to start thinking outside of the box.

Projected results of the biological weapons lab in Manhattan is that Manhattan will double in size. Sounds like good economics at a local level.

KSChick1 6 years, 4 months ago

"I would hope that state employees will come to work whether or not they get a paycheck,” Sebelius said.

Keep wanting babe. I don't get paid, I'm not coming to work. I work for the paycheck!!!

KSChick1 6 years, 4 months ago

"logrithmic (Anonymous) says…

Can someone tell me if KU salaries (profs and staff) would be affected if the state were to propose a 10% pay cut for state employees? Are they paid out of a different budget? And how about local teachers? I thought our property taxes at the county level paid for these services. Would they also face cuts in pay?"

I am a state employee and I can't afford a pay cut, and certainly not 10%! Staff at KU can be paid with other monies besides state monies, but I don't think that would solve the problem as the state owes us this money because we worked for it! Trust me, the piddly staff salaries are not what is breaking the state bank!

classclown 6 years, 4 months ago

“I would hope that state employees will come to work whether or not they get a paycheck,” Sebelius said.

=================================

Seems to me that if they weren't concerned about getting paid, they would be volunteers rather than employees.

Luxor 6 years, 4 months ago

How about a 10% cut to welfare and a 100% cut to welfare moms with more than one kid?

Teri Chambers 6 years, 4 months ago

logrithmic -that depends. i'm not 100% certain but i think this is what will happen.

Unclassified Professional Staff are part of the state employee classification along with Classified Staff. You work for SRS or in the capital building or for the prisons, etc. you are one of those two classifications.

several years ago the Classified Staff at KU left civil service and became KU Support Staff. this allowed SS to get raises when the rest of the state employees didn't get raises because KU pays the wages.

therefore, i think that SS at KU will get paid regardless since it is coming directly from KU. faculty and other UPS are still under the state (unless they get paid through Endowment). if nothing is resolved, i can see faculty and UPS not getting paid friday.

BigDog 6 years, 4 months ago

well luxor ..... now you only have like $900+ million more to go

bevy 6 years, 4 months ago

Hey logrithmic - let's arbitrarily cut your pay by 10% too while we're at it! We're already working for far less than we should be making, for God's sake! I'm not saying there aren't some folks in gov't who make far more than they should. But most of us are working hard and not making great money - especially the administrative assistants and secretaries. These are hard working folks who have put in their time and earned their money.

TheQuestion 6 years, 4 months ago

It seems like no matter what happens, we will need to go into debt to pay state workers. AFTER this is done, Dems and Rebubs can argue about the finer points of the budget bill. Of COURSE budgets will have to be cut, especially after we provide state workers with the internally borrowed money. But this is something that WILL happen in some form or another, which means we probably CAN afford to borrow in order to spare state workers. It feels like Rebublicans are saying it would be illegal to borrow internally because the numbers say we won't be able to pay ourselves back. But is this assuming that we're not going to pass ANY kind of budget cutting bill? This seems unlikely. I'm sure some kind of bill will be passed, even if it isn't EXACTLY the way republicans want it.

DMH1983 6 years, 4 months ago

Logrithmic, I'm going to help you with some math today. Ok so I believe 24 million is needed to make payroll for approx 42,000 state employees. This equal out to an average paycheck of $571.43 or approx $7.14 per hour over 2 weeks. This is an average, some make more, some make less, but can the "average" state worker take a 10% pay cut? Don't assume that all State workers are overpaid elected officials - the vast majority are school janitors, school cooks, parole officers, highway workers, human services workers, caretakers,etc - people that provide valuable services to Kansans.

Futhermore, I do not expect my job to be safe in this economy, as a matter of fact, I am 6 mos pregnant with our first child and looking at losing my job due to the Gov.'s budget cuts. I have not taken a vacation in 5 yrs so I could save up enough money for maternity leave and now I'm not only looking at being laid off before my baby is born, but also not getting paid for the work I've done.

DMH1983 6 years, 4 months ago

Oh Log, we have recieved notice that the State is considering furloughs for those of us left standing after budget cuts. We will work 32 hrs a week instead of 40 so that would actually be a 20% loss of income. However, our workloads would not be diminished. Does that make you feel any better?

DMH1983 6 years, 4 months ago

Log, thank you for the bit of compassion. I think that is all any of us in this situation are looking for.

think_about_it 6 years, 4 months ago

I suggest that many of the State employees that are on here whining about not getting paid have too much time on their hands already. I think we could get by with far fewer of them that have time to surf the internet all day. Get back to work and quit wasting my money!!

Phil Minkin 6 years, 4 months ago

rtwngr (Anonymous) says…

Why shouldn't the business of government be run like a business?

Yeah, like banks, brokerage companies, investment firms, auto makers, peanut butter makers etc.

DMH1983 6 years, 4 months ago

I believe we agree on this Logrithmic.

think_about_it- 2 things for you 1) it is my tax money, too 2) not all State workers work 9-5 M-F so don't presume we are on "your dime"

think_about_it 6 years, 4 months ago

DMH- A quick glance at you past posts reveals that all 50+ of them are posted between 7:30 AM and 4:30 PM. Nice try though.

Just because you pay taxes too makes it OK to steal?

notajayhawk 6 years, 4 months ago

chic (Anonymous) says…

"It's NOT that the state doesn't have the money. It's just not in the right account that needs it at this time."

Except for the little detail that it's in accounts that are already committed to pay for other things, and state law only allows the 'borrowing' if there's a reasonable expectation that incoming revenues will make up the difference. Since pretty much everyone - including the governor - agrees that revenues will fall short of what was budgeted, how does Kathy plan to pay the money back to those other accounts?


yourworstnightmare (Anonymous) says…

"They themselves have already approved of this procedure in the past."

1) They have never before allowed this much to be transferred.

2) As I just mentioned, the 'procedure' can only be approved if there will be money to pay it back before the end of the fiscal year. There is pretty much universal agreement that if budget cuts are not signed into law, the money will not be there.

DMH1983 6 years, 4 months ago

think_about_it: Like I said, not all State workers work M-F. Some of us get our weekends in the middle of the week because we work at 24 hr facilities that have to be staffed at all times.

Would it be wrong of to assume that you are at work right now stealing from your employer? I could assume as you did that if you are in fact "stealing" from your employer you may contribute to increase in product costs due to decreased productivity. Therefore, you are stealing from your company's patrons as well. Far fetched huh? Just using your theory,

GardenMomma 6 years, 4 months ago

Approving (or not approving) the budget (with or without cuts) has absolutely nothing to do with requesting a funds transfer to cover payroll and other cash outflows.

This is just insane!

workinghard 6 years, 4 months ago

DMH--You're asking him to do too much thinking, it's beyond his comprehension.

Centerville 6 years, 4 months ago

She is pathetic...no matter how you try to prop her up.

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