U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, has a bill to repeal funding under the federal stimulus.
“Thanks to unprecedented federal spending, we and our children are hundreds of billions of dollars in further debt to China,” Tiahrt said.
Of Kansas’ six-member congressional delegation, only U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Lenexa, whose district includes east Lawrence, voted for the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. All five Republicans voted against it.
But Tiahrt, who is running for U.S. Senate, has ratcheted up the rhetoric, producing a campaign ad against the stimulus program that asks viewers to help him stop President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
State officials said without the stimulus funds, Kansas would be hurting worse.
Kansas, like many states, has used money from the stimulus to prop up its budget during the recession and a record drop-off in revenue.
In the recent legislative session, lawmakers cut the budget three times, and earlier this month Gov. Mark Parkinson administered another cut.
“Without it (federal stimulus funds), we would have had to cut much deeper,” said Parkinson’s budget director Duane Goossen.
Kansas will receive between $1.8 billion and $1.9 billion over three fiscal years under the federal stimulus plan.
And of the money coming to state government, most of that is going to help public schools, low-income Kansans get health care, higher education, road construction and the unemployed.
For example, in the current fiscal year’s budget, which started July 1, Kansas will receive approximately $200 million for Medicaid. That meant that the state was able to use $200 million in state funding for other areas of the budget.
Without that federal money, state lawmakers would have had to either cut the budget, reduce services or raise taxes.
But with the national unemployment rate at 9.5 percent and expected to go higher, Obama’s stimulus plan is coming under increasing criticism on two sides — those who think it was a waste of money, and those who say it wasn’t enough and are hinting at a second stimulus plan.
On Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden visited Ohio, where Obama’s poll numbers have dropped in recent days, to defend the administration’s economic policies.