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Archive for Monday, January 12, 2009

Sebelius pledges to hold the line on taxes

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, flanked by House Speaker, Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, left, and Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, delivers her State of the State address Monday at the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, flanked by House Speaker, Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, left, and Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, delivers her State of the State address Monday at the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka.

January 12, 2009, 7:30 p.m. Updated January 12, 2009, 9:20 p.m.

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Governor promises ‘a better day’ ahead

The state faces significant financial problems. On Monday night, Governor Kathleen Sebelius offered a glimpse of her solutions. Enlarge video

2009 State of the State address

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius welcomes the new and returning members of the Kansas Legislature as well as other visitors.

Republican response to Sebelius' State of the State address

Stephen Morris, president of the Kansas Senate, provides the legislative Republican perspective on the State of the State.

— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Monday promised a no-new-taxes budget and cuts to most state agencies but urged lawmakers to preserve essential services even during hard economic times.

“This is not the time to take our eye off the future,” Sebelius said in her State of the State address as the 2009 legislative session got under way.

“The promise of our future must not be forgotten in the problems of the moment,” she said.

Sebelius added, “Our state’s motto is as true today as it was in 1861. We will overcome our difficulties; we will reach the stars yet again. There will be a better day.”

GOP, Democrats clash

Republicans — some more than others — criticized Sebelius’ speech, saying its lack of details failed to advance the debate over a budget crisis that has been growing for months.

“I did expect more insight in the budget than what we got tonight,” House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, said after Sebelius addressed a joint session of the House and Senate.

Because of shrinking tax revenues, lawmakers face an immediate deficit of $186 million, which could skyrocket to $1 billion by the start of the next fiscal year July 1.

Kansas Republican Party Chairman Kris Kobach said of Sebelius, “She seems incapable of even suggesting any of the tough decisions that must be made in the months ahead.”

But Democrats rallied to Sebelius’ defense.

State Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, argued that because of the budget problems, Sebelius properly talked about protecting services and focusing on future investments.

“So, what she has reminded us of are the opportunities on the table that we need to be working on,” Francisco said.

Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, agreed, saying, “Considering the financial challenges that we have, I think the governor is being very ambitious, and putting forth the notion that we need to keep investing in the future.”

Caution urged on cuts

Sebelius said her spending plans, which will be unveiled today, would “make significant reductions in most agencies,” eliminate programs, close facilities and freeze hiring of state employees.

Sebelius also, however, urged legislators to be careful when cutting the budget to protect investments that will pay off in the future.

“In an economic downturn, decisions can have dire consequences and a lifetime impact on future generations,” Sebelius said. “No student can afford to ‘miss’ a few years of quality education. No Kansan can be denied lifesaving care while waiting for the economy to improve.”

She said a number of initiatives on the horizon have the potential to spur mammoth economic growth in Kansas.

She cited the state’s pursuit of National Cancer Institute designation as one of those. And, she said, her recently released energy plan could bring thousands of “green” jobs to the state through development of wind energy.

Schools, welfare and coal

Republicans, who hold significant majorities in the Legislature, also promised not to increase taxes, and said social service and public school funding cuts may be needed to bridge the budget shortfall.

“Medicaid and K-12 represent the greatest costs to the state budget, so both must be considered ‘on the table’ in any discussion to balance the budgets for FY 2009 and 2010,” Senate President Stephen Morris, R-Hugoton, said in an address that followed Sebelius’.

Earlier in the day, about two dozen people demonstrated outside the Capitol against a freeze in a program to help low-income Kansans with disabilities.

“In terms of people’s lives, it’s devastating,” Mike Oxford of Lawrence, an organizer with Kansas ADAPT, said of the decision by the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services to halt accepting new clients for the Medicaid program that provides home- and community-based services for Kansans with physical disabilities.

On energy policy, Morris made it clear that Sebelius and Republicans would wrestle again over the two proposed coal-burning power plants in southwestern Kansas.

Morris wants the plants as part of a comprehensive energy plan, saying, “I am absolutely convinced we will need every single megawatt of power from every conceivable energy source to feed the ever-increasing energy appetite of our state and the nation.”

Sebelius has opposed the plants, saying the project’s annual emission of 11 million tons of carbon dioxide would produce health and environmental damage, while most of the power would be exported out of state.

In the current political and economic situation, she said, the plants are unfeasible.

“Kansas is already one of the nation’s worst offenders in per capita carbon emissions, which makes us vulnerable to the costs and penalties of imminent federal regulation,” she said.

Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, said he agrees with Sebelius on promoting wind energy, but he said coal-fired energy has to be part of the mix. “I keep saying the issues are affordable and reliable energy,” Sloan said.

Comments

igby 5 years, 3 months ago

She reminds me of Petula Clark, singing "DownTown", from 1964! Lol.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 3 months ago

Why can't Kansas have some new Poor Farms? Seriously, they would work. The first one could be in Douglas county. I will go live there. The place will be a model for the United States. Wind powered laundry facilites, solar heated outhouses along with solar heated bathing areas. It can have a nuclear powered kitchen for baking and drying herbs and making jerky.Those "in town" can come visit and buy veggies grown with compost from Buffalo Bobs, Mad Greek, Wheatfields, Merc, and all the other restauranteurs. No need to dump the stuff down the disposal. Bring it to the Poor Farm.Old folks will show the state how to take care of' it's own.We want backup stoves to burn wood in the kitchen and to keep the chili and soup warm.Sebelius and her cronies and our local legislators should be promoting the idea of the New Millenium Poor Farm. We are going high tech. Each county will have two Commissioners known as the Poor Commissioners. They will represent our local and state concerns and funding.After the place is built, there won't need to be much funding. Retired doctors, lawyers, accountants, farmers , tradespeople will all live there. I think when finished, Kansas will have a place in the global effort to help the poor, who have been made poor by the inept government we have now.I want a second story accomodation with a balcony for a telescope to watch the stars (gonnn be lots of stars after drinking that berry wine).

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Bill Griffith 5 years, 3 months ago

The state of Kansas has an electrictiy surplus and will continue to have one into the near future, maybe longer. Energy efficiency, wind, and natural gas are much cheaper than a new nuclear plant. A new nuke facility will take 7-10 years to construct. Anyone advocating for a new nuclear facility in this state must want much higher electric rates for customers, is from Coffey County, or may have recently escaped from Larned.

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jj024 5 years, 3 months ago

How many lies do we have to put with? How long do we have to live with the lies and the false promises? What a frigging circus. This train wreck is not stopping anytime soon people.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 3 months ago

Merit pay won't work because the teachers will teach to the test and the teacher with the most students getting good grades gets a raise. I say, let the teachers start flunking a few. The teacher with the most students put back a year or two gets a raise. Let the students decide then how smart they want to be or do they want to be Not Left Behind??

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Joel Hood 5 years, 3 months ago

invictus - sniveling tool??? I don't disagree with your point on inflation, etc. But, you made a factual error about who would be pumping cash into the economy and if anything, the Fed was overly conservative about inflation several years ago when they raised interest rates too fast (JMHO). And, do you always call people names on message boards when they point out obvious errors or are you so famous that we all should have known your opinion on the semantics of demacracy?

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XD40 5 years, 3 months ago

This is where Kathleen 'Don't Drop the Soap" Sebleius' policies are taking us:http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/6616.html

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XD40 5 years, 3 months ago

Cuts to all education programs must be considered. Higher education, K-12, pre-school, the whole nine yards. They spend profligately and, generally, do not produce either good or consistent results. Merit pay for teachers would be a good first step followed by the elimination of tenure -- especially in K-12. The university system could probably be funded by their athletic departments.Build the coal plants. They're part of a comprehensive energy strategy for the state. We know that CO2 and AGW are a hoax being perpetrated by the fascist environmental left:http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/01/co2_fairytales_in_global_warmi.html http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/3982101/2008-was-the-year-man-made-global-warming-was-disproved.htmlIt's also time to build a new nuclear power plant in the state.If we can build a lab to harbor the world's most dangerous pathogens, we shouldn't fear coal or nuclear power.

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invictus 5 years, 3 months ago

Feeble you are a loon. Is that screen name short for feeble minded?

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feeble 5 years, 3 months ago

Invictus, I read about John Galt: I knew John Galt; John Galt was a friend of mine. Invictus, you're no John Galt.

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invictus 5 years, 3 months ago

Good link, I have been thinking about “Atlas Shrugged” a lot lately in regards to the state of the country. Unfortunately liberal policies will cause us to sink further in to the darkness for many years to come. I am thinking of shrugging myself.

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justthefacts 5 years, 3 months ago

Read - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123146363567166677.html A wall street journal writer (economist) has good insight into how all the governmental efforts to adust things are really only making things worse. An excerpt: "Politicians invariably respond to crises -- that in most cases they themselves created -- by spawning new government programs, laws and regulations. These, in turn, generate more havoc and poverty, which inspires the politicians to create more programs . . . and the downward spiral repeats itself until the productive sectors of the economy collapse under the collective weight of taxes and other burdens imposed in the name of fairness, equality and do-goodism."

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invictus 5 years, 3 months ago

Every time I say democracy some sniveling tool whimpers “We live in a representative republic” As if playing with semantics somehow makes them look smart. A representive republic is a democracy, as the representive are elected by democratic elections. Regardless of who directly owns the printing presses, inflation is a tax. A tax that is not voted on by our “representive democracy”

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Chris Ogle 5 years, 3 months ago

State Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, argued that because of the budget problems, Sebelius properly talked about protecting services and focusing on future investments.------------------------------------------Where did Marci get that???? MMMM

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Joel Hood 5 years, 3 months ago

invictus - The Federal Reserve does not print cash. The Treasury department prints cash. The Federal Reserve only works with the Treasury to replace wornout bank notes. In fact, the Federal Reserve destroys old currency. But you are right, we don't live in a demacracy - we never have. We live in a representative republic.

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Steve Jacob 5 years, 3 months ago

Coney Island Hut had a bad location. Just look at the parking lot at McAllister's to see what a good location will do.

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Trobs 5 years, 3 months ago

Comrade Obama will bail us out.

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invictus 5 years, 3 months ago

Deficient spending is a tax, the Federal Reserve printing money is a tax, wake up people it’s a shell game and we are being tax without representation. I never gave the US government permission to become indebted to China on my behalf. Did you? This is not a democracy.

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pomegranate 5 years, 3 months ago

Whether due to the economy, or whatever, has anyone noticed that that little hot dog stand the Coney Island Hut over by Paisano's has closed up?, Also a while back, the BBQ place in the old Don's Steak House.

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Bob_Keeshan 5 years, 3 months ago

“I am absolutely convinced we will need every single megawatt of power from every conceivable energy source to feed the ever-increasing energy appetite of our state and the nation.”Senator Morris would look at the contestants on The Biggest Loser and offer them an all you can eat pizza party.Have an ever increasing appetite? Well then, let's get you fed!Me Want Fooooooood!!!

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solsken66 5 years, 3 months ago

Furloughs ...close state agencies a few days a month. Only essential personnel work at agencies that require personnel work 24/7. This should save a bundle on payroll.

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angel4dennis 5 years, 3 months ago

I am ready for this woman to be out of office. I have seen nothing good come from her stint as Governor. She skirted the real issues and should have unveiled a plan last night. Why wait until the next day? What purpose does that serve other than to make sure your name gets in the paper again? Honestly, the way she talked I thought our Motto had changed to Kansas: The Miracle State.

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Flap Doodle 5 years, 3 months ago

"There is no cholera in Zimbabwe."

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Bill Griffith 5 years, 3 months ago

Steve Morris is the Senator from the district that the Sunflower coal plant expansion would be constructed in. All of his constiutents are members of Sunflower's rural electric cooperative umbrella. Sunflower itself is non-profit. Morris is misguided on the demand issue as Kansas has a surplus of electricity and will for the next several years along with a very modest population growth in our state-including negative growth in much of Sunflower's service area. Morris also neglects to mention most of the power would be shipped out of state. And lastly, at least as of last year, Morris is fairly ignorant of climate sience and had not read the IPCC reports.

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tennesseerader 5 years, 3 months ago

Gov. Sebelius is one of the sheeple that believe the global warming sham. Cheap energy is the key to a thriving economy. You will see very soon that the whole idea of punishing producers of carbon is only a scam to make a select group of crooks (like Algore) rich.Man made CO2 is not bad. In fact, it increases crop production. The only significant contributor of global warming or cooling is beyond our control (the sun).

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Brent Garner 5 years, 3 months ago

Right! A leftist democrat holdling the line on taxes!Yes, and Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny are real!Tell me more fairy tales!

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JoRight 5 years, 3 months ago

Time to legalize drugs & have the man take his pinch off as opposed to the corner drug dealer.Also, I don't necessarily see any layoffs in the future to be bad. For the most part, the state will be cutting fat.

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Steve Jacob 5 years, 3 months ago

I just don't see the coal burning plant as being a big issue. Heck, losing the Hard Rock Casino in KC might have been a more costly blow then that.We are just in a black hole in 2009, between the federal deficit, unemployment, most states broke. Have fun Obama.

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rodentgirl16 5 years, 3 months ago

The State Racing and Gaming Commission already has. However, what's happening in my agency, rather than the hiring freeze, is that when an employee quits or retires, they are not being replaced, and the workload is reallocated to the remaining employees. I personally have no problem with this but if and when the economic stimulus is passed, this may become a big problem because we simply won't be able to keep up. Oh, and I am one of the bureaucrats that actually does care about the job and the people that it affects because as a taxpaying citizen, the projects that I work on affect me too. I realize this is not the case across the board, but I am blessed to work with professionals.

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FMT6488 5 years, 3 months ago

I wonder just how much money Morris has invested into the power companies involved in the power-plant issue? As to laying off of state workers - Most of the layoffs(if they happen) will be done to the people that actually WORK. Road crews, police, etc. - the bureaucracy workers will barely be touched by layoffs(if they occur). So, public services will decline, while the bureaucrats still get paid for causing hassles for the public. (I'm sure that there may be some bureaucrats that actually care about how their jobs effect others, but most are just concerned about doing their jobs, NOT how they effect the people they are supposed to help.)

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FMT6488 5 years, 3 months ago

Morris is an idiot for saying “Medicaid and K-12 represent the greatest costs to the state budget, so both must be considered ‘on the table’ in any discussion to balance the budgets for FY 2009 and 2010”. This single statement is antagonistic and made solely to create problems between Sebelius, democrats, and republicans. Then he again brings up the coal-plant issue. If Kansas was actually going to be using the power produced by those plants, I'd say "Go ahead, build them!". Unfortunately, Kansas will NOT be using the majority of power produced by those plants. The power produced by those plants will be sold (at a profit) by the power company (I think its' Black Hills now) to other states with higher environmental emissions laws than Kansas. Meanwhile, Kansans foot some of the construction costs and have to deal with the increased levels of KNOWN carcinogens in Kansas water, air, and land.

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igby 5 years, 3 months ago

They'll be laying off state workers soon.

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