Archive for Friday, February 27, 2009

Sebelius amends budget to include federal stimulus dollars

February 27, 2009, 2:11 p.m. Updated February 27, 2009, 4:49 p.m.


— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Friday proposed an amendment to her budget that she said will allow the state to draw nearly $1 billion in federal stimulus funds and avoid deep cuts in education and social services.

“Budget cuts deeper than what I have already recommended are not necessary, and would, in fact, do great harm to our state’s economy and employment levels,” Sebelius said.

Sebelius and lawmakers have been tussling all session over ways to reduce the budget in light of the national recession that has dropped state tax receipts.

Last week, Sebelius signed off on a $300 million deficit reduction package, and budget experts have said the state faces another shortfall in the next fiscal year starting July 1 that could reach $1 billion.

State agencies have been told to plan for further cuts in the range of 10 percent to 19 percent.

But since then, President Barack Obama and Congress have passed the $787 billion federal stimulus package. Over the past week, agency chiefs have been briefing legislators on how much Kansas will get under the deal, and Sebelius’ budget amendment represents the first attempt by her office to incorporate the federal monies into her budget request.

Sebelius urged the Legislature to:

• Maintain funding for public schools at the current level and restore higher education funding to last year’s level. That will allow the state to access $367 million in recovery funds to stabilize these areas, she said.

Under this proposal, base state aid per pupil in public schools would be at $4,400 for the next two years.

• Prevent cuts to special education, which will allow the state to gain $107 million in recovery funds.

• Maintain current Medicaid eligibility standards, which will provide the state with $430 million. Sebelius called for an increase in the eligibility for HealthWave, which she said will allow 8,000 more children to receive health coverage.

• Prevent cuts to public safety or other government services for access to $81 million.

Sebelius said that combined with her proposed budget cuts in other areas, the plan will balance the budget without a tax increase.

Republican legislative leaders were also analyzing the impact of the federal stimulus.

Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said in some areas the state, facing tax shortfalls, will somehow have to come up with more money to gain the federal funds. “We’re grateful to get the money, but some of the strings, we could’ve done without,” Morris said.

Some legislators have cautioned that at some point the federal tap of funds will run dry, and then the state will have to make up the increased spending levels.

But Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said the federal stimulus will prevent deep cuts to higher education.

Referring to a recommended 13 percent higher education cut approved by the Senate budget committee, Hensley said, “I would hope we would abandon the continuation of those discussions.”


Godot 9 years, 2 months ago

Interpretation: To access the largesse of the Great One, states must ignore the fact that they are nearing default and continue to spend at their current unsupportable levels. Only then will they qualify for their share of the spendulus bill.

This will require tax increases on the state and local level.

Poor fiscal behavior on the part of the states is encouraged and rewarded by irresposible and dangerous fiscal behavior on the part of Obama.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 2 months ago

I agree, Godot. We'd all be much better off with massive layoffs, a collapse of social services and spiraling depression. Character building, dontcha know? And then none of us would have to travel nearly as far to visit a third-world country.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 2 months ago

Fortunately, most legislators, even Republicans, won't want to actually carry through with the tantrum you'd like to throw, XD40

Mixolydian 9 years, 2 months ago

Wait...What? We have to increase the spending of money we don't have at the state level to get money we don't have at the federal level.

We have to raise state taxes to get federal money for which we will have to pay higher federal taxes for generations to get out of under that recent and additional soon to be massive national debt increase.

I think the democrats are getting their economic theories from reading the margins of Mad magazine.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 2 months ago

In case you missed it, the Republicans lost the last two elections-- badly. And in case you don't understand the reason, it's primarily the economy that's collapsing all around us.

Despite your claims of "resistance," the American people are not about to return to the same greedy stupidity that created it.

MyName 9 years, 2 months ago


Oh yeah, torturing people in secret prisons is part of 21st century warfare, but giving the state's an opportunity to responsibly adjust their budgets to changing economic conditions is "totalitarianism".

Somehow, I don't think that word means what you think it means...

BigAl 9 years, 2 months ago

Nancy Boy... You well could be right but the democrats are in there now because the republicans put us in this mess. 8 years of their uncontrolled spending have us in this "depression well under way", as you put it. All of your whining won't change that fact. If the dems screw it up further, then they should be replaced but the past 8 years are proof that the republicans don't have the answer.

The corrupt right wing media are doing their best to further this recession with their doomsday broadcasting 24-7. They are pathetic in their hope for the downfall of America.

Remember, Obama inherited this mess.

beawolf 9 years, 2 months ago

"Bozo, the Democrats won't be in control in 2012, you can bet on it." .... Wow, where can I lay my money down. I think the odds are better that the Republican party may cease to exist.

beawolf 9 years, 2 months ago

I think XD40 is actually a Limbaugh "mini-me". Regurgitating the same old propaganda.

tjw0452 9 years, 2 months ago

Sebelius...just want's you Kansan's to suck-up to the government trough so not to embarrass her commander-n-chief. Some states have the dignity to pass on government handouts that only makes our Country's financial future bleak...and will keeps our children's children owing the government...just how democrats like it.

blakus 9 years, 2 months ago

Lets remember who started spending like it was going out of style... Reagan... his attitude on deficit spending spread like a virus to all the states. Thanks Ronald

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