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Archive for Friday, January 23, 2009

Battle lines being drawn over how to cut state budget

January 23, 2009

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— Senate Republican leaders said Friday they will propose an across-the-board budget cut as part of a $300 million deficit reduction plan.

“We think this is necessary,” said Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton.

He said details of the plan would be worked out over the weekend and that he hoped to have the package up for debate next week before the full Senate.

But Democrats said they will propose their own plan, which will rely more heavily on Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ targeted spending cuts.

House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence described an across-the-board cut as the “lazy way to cut the budget.”

Morris responded to that comment, saying, “In this atmosphere there is no such thing as lazy budgeting.”

Because of falling tax revenue, lawmakers face an immediate budget shortfall of $186 million. Republicans say that the deficit is growing because the economy continues to struggle.

And they contend some of Sebelius’ budget plans, such as diverting funds that were supposed to go to local governments, push the problem away but don’t solve it.

Democrats say the plan being constructed by the GOP amounts to a 3.5 percent across-the-board cut. With only five months remaining in the current fiscal year, such a cut, they argued, could have devastating consequences.

Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka said it could result in shutting down operations at three state correctional facilities and terminating offender treatment and intervention programs.

And an additional across-the-board cut would hit public schools harder than Sebelius’ proposal.

Democrats contended that some Republicans are pushing for larger cuts to public schools because they are still angry over Kansas Supreme Court rulings in recent years that required the Legislature to increase school funding.

“Some (GOP legislators) are literally salivating to cut into school budgets,” Davis said.

Morris conceded that may be the case. “There may be some that feel that way,” he said.

But, he said, most lawmakers are not “wild” about cutting schools. “But the choices are very limited.”

Comments

d_prowess 5 years, 11 months ago

Can someone explain how cuts could be made to public school funding if the Kansas Supreme Court has already ruled that they have to be funded to a certain level and not below that? (for the record, I am not arguing either way on the cuts issue, just more curious about the legal ability to do so at this point)

wysiwyg69 5 years, 11 months ago

Damn, ljreader hit it right on the taco.

Orwell 5 years, 11 months ago

Nobody's right if everybody's wrong.

jayhawklawrence 5 years, 11 months ago

ljreader:While I liked most of your comments and especially the canary analogy (great), I prefer not to claim that these businesses are just greedy. Most are just trying to survive in a very competitive situation. It is life or death for some of these businesses. The real culprit is government ineptness at controlling the flood of illegal immigration. They created a severe interruption in natural market forces that we rely on for the balance in our economy. Businesses are left with the problem of having to sort out the mess which they cannot by themselves.

scott3460 5 years, 11 months ago

And why won't our political "representatives" listen to us and stop the illegal invasion and then rid us of these burdens. In these tough economic times the tax payers could use the break, many could use the job opportunities and certainly each and every one of us who uses a government service could stand to enjoy those continued services without cuts.

johngalt 5 years, 11 months ago

The first lawsuit re: school funding was settled and dismissed after the legislature capitulated to the pressures of the Kansas Sup Ct. So, a second lawsuit would have to be filed at the district court level and make its way up to the Sup Ct. That could take years.

volunteer 5 years, 11 months ago

And the Court does not live in a vacuum. They read the papers, watch the news, are aware of the recession which may turn into a Depression. What the Court deems "suitable" during a deep recession is likely way different that what it deemed "suitable" when the economy was going full steam ahead.

Thinking_Out_Loud 5 years, 11 months ago

ljreader gave a lot of stats. I'm curious of their source?

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