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Archive for Friday, January 9, 2009

Legislators prepare constituents for fallout from budget trims

January 9, 2009

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All week at different forums, Douglas County’s legislators have tried to brace constituents for the tough budget decisions that await them beginning Monday in Topeka.

With an economy in crisis and plummeting revenues, the county’s delegation Thursday night at an American Association of University Women event again told about 40 people at the Dole Institute of Politics they would do their best to prioritize funding as they face an expected $1 billion deficit for the next fiscal year.

Certain cuts in areas such as supporting the bioscience industry or education could harm gains the state has made in recent years, they said. Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said K-12 students have made testing gains in recent years since the legislators injected more funds because of a state Supreme Court decision.

“We have to understand that there are going to be consequences, and those numbers are going to go down,” said Davis, the incoming House minority leader.

Others said some budget cuts could end up costing more in the long run if the state had to step in later with additional services.

“What we have to do is look at programs that are long-term investments in the future of Kansas citizens,” said Rep.-elect Tony Brown, D-Baldwin City.

With that said, the delegation also acknowledged that the deep impact of the national economic crisis will force much tightening.

“I think we’re going to be wrestling with this for the considerable future,” said Sen.-elect Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City.

“We’re going to be agonizing over every vote we make, and we’re going to do the best job we can. And you’re still not going to be happy with us,” said Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, who left the forum early to attend another meeting.

Later, all of the Democrats blasted Hays-based Sunflower Electric Power Corp.’s plan to build two 700-megawatt coal-fired power plants near Holcomb, and they said the state needed to come up with a comprehensive energy policy relying more on renewable energy.

The coal plant issue dominated the 2008 session after Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Rod Bremby denied air-quality permits. Efforts to override Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ veto of a bill to allow the plants succeeded in the Senate but failed in the House. Proponents have said they will try again this session.

“The only thing that stopped this last year were 42 warriors in the House, and I don’t think we will have them this year,” said Rep. Ann Mah, D-Topeka, who opposes the plants. “I think it will go through, and it will go through early.”

Comments

63BC 5 years, 11 months ago

Just so we're clear:(1) A lack of economic activity is hurting the state's revenue picture and inhibiting its ability to provide funding for key services.(2) But we, your enlightened legislators, are determined to oppose a development which would mean more than $3 billion in new direct investment in one of the neediest parts of the state while increasing property sales and income tax receipts and lowering utility costs for employers and families.(3) We're telling you both of these things at the same time in a building where the light and heat is provided by a coal-fired power plant not twenty miles away.Got it. Check. Thanks.

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 11 months ago

Here's one constituent eagerly awaiting government budget cuts.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 11 months ago

The US government bailed out of its' financial support of a"clean coal" project because the project became far more expensive than estimated . Wall Street killed nuke plants back in the 1980's because they were too expensive and were deemed a bad investment.Both have high dollar waste problems and health concerns. Both produce radioactive waste. Neither are truly considered clean except by industry reps and politicians. Politiicians are slammed daily as crooked yet when they want to build expensive energy plants some of the same slammers cheer them on....go figure.So why all the support for two of the most expensive sources of energy? That is fiscally irresponsible.

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