Archive for Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Statehouse Live: Sam Brownback says he is focused on economic growth

Governor-elect Sam Brownback is interviewed in his transitional office at the Statehouse in Topeka. Brownback will take office as the new governor of Kansas Jan. 10, 2011.

Governor-elect Sam Brownback is interviewed in his transitional office at the Statehouse in Topeka. Brownback will take office as the new governor of Kansas Jan. 10, 2011.

December 21, 2010, 12:39 p.m. Updated December 21, 2010, 4:51 p.m.


Governor-elect Sam Brownback talks about his priorities after being sworn in

Governor-Elect Sam Brownback speaks about economic development, education and medicaid in an interview with the Journal-World, Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010. Enlarge video

— Gov.-elect Sam Brownback on Tuesday vowed to balance the state budget without a tax increase and try to improve the economy.

And despite a $500 million deficit, Brownback said there may be some room for targeted tax cuts aimed at developing rural areas.

“I’m focused on growth,” Brownback said in an interview with the Lawrence Journal-World. He promised to deliver an economic plan to the Legislature within 30 days after he takes office Jan. 10.

“We have got to get the growth agenda passed,” he said.

But his positions would likely result in funding cuts to public schools, and he said there are not enough funds available for a proposed higher education increase.

Public school issues

Brownback, a Republican, said he wants to provide the current level of state funding to public schools, but added the state doesn’t have the money necessary to replace expiring federal stimulus dollars.

“I don’t see how we, with the $500 million budget hole, can do a lot of augmentation really anywhere,” he said.

During the current fiscal year, Kansas schools are receiving approximately $200 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. That enabled the state to back out $200 million in state tax revenues and use those dollars to patch other areas of the budget during the recent economic recession.

But for the fiscal year starting July 1, there will be no more federal stimulus funds, so schools will be short $200 million if the state doesn’t replace those monies. Plus, if the state doesn’t step up funding for certain areas of school finance, such as special education, then the state could face hefty federal penalties for failing to maintain school funding levels.

After several rounds of budget cuts, Mark Tallman, a spokesman for the Kansas Association of School Boards, said schools will have to make more cuts, use up cash reserves or raise local revenues through student fees and taxes.

Meanwhile, Tallman said, schools are facing increasing academic standards. “Meeting these challenges will be far more difficult if school budgets are further reduced,” he said.

In another school area, Brownback said during the gubernatorial campaign that he wanted to change the school finance formula.

But on Tuesday he said that will have to wait at least a year. A debate on how school funding is divided between districts statewide would “grab all the oxygen” and detract from working on economic growth and other key issues, he said.

Still, he said, there is room to work on other school proposals for the legislative session that starts next month.

Brownback said he wants to explore ways to get more existing resources into the classroom. One possibility, he said, would be to move funds currently dedicated to school construction to classroom instruction on a temporary basis.

He said he wants to change the public school teacher certification process to allow people with expertise in a particular subject to teach in schools even if they haven’t completed college training as an educator.

Brownback rejects ‘Commitment’

Concerning higher education, Brownback said the money is not there to support the Kansas Commitment plan, which was approved by the Kansas Board of Regents and would require $50 million in additional funding.

He said he would like to reallocate resources within higher education to increase funding for areas directly linked to the economy, such as the Kansas University Medical Center, KU School of Pharmacy, veterinary medicine at Kansas State and aviation at Wichita State. He mentioned that some states are discontinuing degree programs that are graduating small numbers of students and perhaps Kansas colleges should be doing that.

Of the funding increase under the proposed Kansas Commitment, about $20 million would cover inflation over the past several years. Another $15.75 million would be used to restore some of the deferred maintenance funding that legislators approved for schools but eliminated in the last two budgets. The plan would also seek $14 million in state funds for KU, KSU and WSU to address shortages in engineers and medical professionals. Last week, student leaders at the regents schools delivered to Brownback 3,000 postcards signed by students supporting the plan.

Regents Chairman Gary Sherrer said regents members will continue to push for the plan.

“The board’s position has not changed,” Sherrer said. “Through the Kansas Commitment, we’ve provided the governor-elect and the Legislature with targeted investment opportunities that all produce much-needed economic growth,” he said, adding, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Rural tax cut proposed

Brownback also promised to “meet our Medicaid needs.” He said, however, the Medicaid system must be overhauled to more efficiently deliver health care.

On the tax side, he said he will not accept any increases. In fact, he may seek cuts.

He said he will propose waiving personal state income taxes for a 10-year period for people who move to Kansas from out of state and live and work in rural areas. He said he also wants to work with rural counties to set up programs to buy down student loans if the student moves back to the area. He said the state wouldn’t mandate the programs but would partner with willing counties.

And Brownback, a U.S. senator, said he had no presidential ambitions. He ran in the last presidential cycle for the GOP nomination but dropped out early.

“I am not a candidate for president. I am ecstatic about being governor of Kansas,” he said.


pace 3 years, 3 months ago

His plan to attract people to Kansas, Don't invest in Kansas education system. Then any good job will go to people educated in states that did invest in education. They will be offered jobs and will come to Kansas, Now don't get all excited a lot won't come because they will have kids and they will want a good education system for them. Kansas businesses and government will need skilled people. If we don't raise our own crop we can import.


guess_again 3 years, 3 months ago

How funny. He wants to support rural economic development by giving away rural counties tax revenues which are already flat or declining to attract people.

How generous of him. I am sure there will be at least several dozen rural county commissioners gagging when they learn of this.


Flap Doodle 3 years, 3 months ago

Dang, a lot of people are all cranky and need naps today.


seeker_of_truth 3 years, 3 months ago

The only economic growth this idiot is focused on is his and his rich buddies. And the right wingers in this state are too stupid to see it and voted him in. But then Kansans have a history of voting against their own best interests.


deathpenaltyliberal 3 years, 3 months ago

"thepianoman (anonymous) replies… .... less government and less spending. That's what he and the rest of the GOP are all about. Here's to conservativism"

It's just talk. State spending will increase and there will be more govt intervention in peoples lives from his nanny state policies. The GOP has nothing to do with conservatism and everything to do with enriching the major donors and inserting govt. into people's private behavior.


tolawdjk 3 years, 3 months ago

I want to provide the current funding for schools, but you know, we can't. So rather than look at that, let's table it for one/two years, write off those students and pick it up fresh later on. I'm just one man and there is sooooo much on my plate right now.


ibroke 3 years, 3 months ago

does anybody know how many people the koch brothers have employed?


Les Blevins 3 years, 3 months ago

Sam says he is; "ecstatic about being governor of Kansas" but also says "I don’t see how we, with the $500 million budget hole, can do a lot of augmentation really anywhere."

Well I do see how; so I wonder if Sam would be willing to listen to a suggestion from a fifth generation Kansan who has been writing him since he was Kansas Sec. of Agriculture and offering a proposal that is in line with what he called for when he met with Tom Sloan here in Lawrence a few months ago.

How about it Sam?

Les Blevins 785-842-1943


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 3 months ago

Republicans have a plan for economic revitalization. They devised it by careful reading of Charles Dickens's novels.

So here's a bit of advice on how to prosper in the coming age-- just memorize this line--

"Please, sir. May I have some more, sir?"


Paul R Getto 3 years, 3 months ago

Here's a money-making idea for the state. Change the name to Kochansas, then there will be a boom in new flags, license plates, official stationery, bumper stickers, road signs on the borders, etc. ...................


overthemoon 3 years, 3 months ago

Brownback voted no on the money that came to Kansas. He's voting 'no' on the START treaty, with not one comment on the floor to explain why he is siding with those who are ignoring the military, international leaders, the President, the State Department, and every other agency that says 'get it done'. He voted against the Dream act, which was originally a republican proposal. He voted against DADT, with no evidence that the red herring arguments against it had any validity. He and Roberts have voted NO on every bit of legislation that might have helped the country recover more quickly. Except the one for television commercial volume.

Interestingly, on the majority of his 'no' votes, he voted 'yes' for similar funding when bush was in office. Principles? No. Politics? Yes.


Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

Brownback is among the tax dollar moochers.

Yes quite a retirement package this man has accumulated complete with taxpayer funded medical insurance for the rest of his life. Yet the taxpayers that fund his medical insurance cannot have their own funded with their own tax dollars.

Something wrong with this picture.


Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

Brownback cannot know much about economic growth. Beltway Republicans have proven they are not the economic giants of our time: Meet beltway repub economics:

  1. The Reagan/ Bush Savings and Loan Heist( millions out of work) "There are several ways in which the Bush family plays into the Savings and Loan scandal, which involves not only many members of the Bush family but also many other politicians that are still in office and were part of the Bush Jr. administration.

Jeb Bush, George Bush Sr., and his son Neil Bush have all been implicated in the Savings and Loan Scandal, which cost American tax payers over $1.4 TRILLION dollars (note that this was about one quarter of our national debt").

The Reagan/Bush savings and loan heist was considered the largest theft in history at the time. George Herbert Walker Bush then took $1.4 trillion of taxpayers money to cover the theft.

  1. The Bush/Cheney Wall Street Bank Fraud on Consumers(millions out of work) Yes, substantial fraud was involved. For example, mortgage companies and banks used deceit to get people to take on mortgages when there was no possibility that the borrowers would be able to meet the payments. Not only was this fraud, but this fraud depended on government authorities(Bush admin) ignoring their regulatory responsibilities."

  2. Only 3 major Financial Institutions were at risk in spite of what we’re told ? "There were just a handful of institutions that were terribly weakened. AIG the insurer, Bank of America and Citigroup, Those three were clearly in very weakened form. Many of the other big banks simply were not.


overthemoon 3 years, 3 months ago

Just before the election I saw an example of Brownbacks' sense of frugality. In Overland Park, along Metcalf ave. THOUSANDS of election signs. Literally one every 20 feet. For miles. If he can raise so much money to waste on getting elected, maybe he can figure out how to get those campaign donors to put some money where it really matters.

Note a recent article about Colorado Springs, where the taxes are some of the lowest in the country, the bid for a tax raise to pay for basic services failed last year, and they now have the WORST job prospect forecast in the country. Think about that for a while.


BrianR 3 years, 3 months ago

He must be focused on growth in China because cutting American education is going to really help the Chinese completely displace the U.S. as the world's superpower.


edjayhawk 3 years, 3 months ago

I guess the stimulus funding wasn't so bad after all, huh Shewmon?


Slowponder 3 years, 3 months ago

The state is $500M in the hole starting out and he is talking about tax cuts??????? There must be a disconnect somewhere in his synapses.

His selection to be his budget director feeds us left-over pablum from the 1980's and the Laffer Curve. Over the past ten years the Gross Domestic Product of Kansas has grown between 2 and 3% every year. If they cut taxes by 10%, in order to make up the difference, the GDP would have to grow by 12% just to bring the State of Kansas back to $500 M in the hole.

This Governor needs to fund education, mainly his own in arithmetic.


Tom Shewmon 3 years, 3 months ago

BABBOY is a textbook example of a far-left zealot whose desire to see his far-left agenda put into full swing has been torpedoed and is furious and can not hide it. Hateful, bitter and unhinged.


BABBOY 3 years, 3 months ago

People just refuse to understand that what is good for Charles Koch is not remotely close to what is good for regular people that are not worth 21 billon dollars.

In my opinion, Brownback is basically an employee of Koch in that Koch owns him and conversely owns this state.

Actually, commenting on this is a waste of time. So, I am done trying to persuade people as to what is best.

The Koch brothers will just run the flag up the pole and ramble about liberals or Obama and all the stupid Kansans will support Koch and their candidates no matter how bad it screws the middle class and the poor...


Just blame the liberals. Liberals may not waive flags or blindly follow fake morality of certain very profitable religions and their "non-profit" entities.…..

But, liberals are stupid enough to try to help the poor, the working class, those who do not have health care, and those who no one else will help.

Hey, forget that liberals want to help the little guy or those that the big industry would just assume forget about or see as a problem. ...

Instead, just blame liberals because that is what the Fox Channel (a channel owned by a billionaire conservative) tells you idiots to do.

Fox Channels sugar coated sound bites will make you feel good. Never mine that it is all propaganda and BS. It is good BS.

Frankly, you stupid conservative are your own worst enemy. But, hey, blame the liberals, turn on Bill O’Riely or Glenn Beck, waive your little flag and beat on your bible and that surely will make you morons feel better…...


Tom Shewmon 3 years, 3 months ago

Brownback at least is concerned about the economy, unlike Sebelius who only had any and all far-left special interest group in her sights in order to get noticed the anointed one (I dropped the caps, happy?) and get into his Far-Left Radical Regime (all caps).

You guys are terrific!


begin60 3 years, 3 months ago

He's focused on economic growth for the benefit of whom and at whose expense? Sam Brownback is hardly my favorite charmer.


notanota 3 years, 3 months ago

Evidence says that subject matter experts are less effective than qualified teachers. There's also not a shortage of fully trained teachers in this state, as far as I know, but hey, let's propose an ineffective solution to a non-existent problem and pretend that we're somehow helping schools in the process!

It's also weird to propose the tax free incentives to moving to rural areas. Think about this. The tax rate - at the highest- is 6.45%. That's nothing, and moving to a rural area is likely to cut my earning potential by much more than 6.45%, even if I can buy a cheaper house out in the boonies. Unless he plans on coupling this idea with magical high paying jobs, I don't see how this will be incentive to anyone who actually works for a living.


jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

So much for the promise to "protect" education funding.

Anybody who paid attention knew the state couldn't replace the federal money and adequately fund the system while simultaneously cutting taxes.


georgeofwesternkansas 3 years, 3 months ago

It is really to bad that for the economy to do well someone has to get rich. I think we should all move to Lawrence so we too could be flower children and smoke dope all day. Maybe have some gay rights.


Paul R Getto 3 years, 3 months ago

rshrink: "Everything he does is typical republican pro-development which enhances the already well off and will do nothing for the rest of us." === Now, now, give him a chance. The SHEEPLE have spoken and voted against their own self interest yet again. We should be used to it by now. This is going to be an interesting legislative session, no doubt about it.


Bob Hechlor 3 years, 3 months ago

The only economy that Brownback is concerned with is his wealthy friends, the billionaire Koch Brothers, the ones who will be building another pollution factory coal plant that we don't need. It will be subsidized by taxpayers who will have to pay for all of the costs associated with the pollution it makes. Brownback is a person with an agenda, one that you will never know about. Everything he does is typical republican pro-development which enhances the already well off and will do nothing for the rest of us. The coal plant energy will mostly go out of state and the corporation that runs it will not be paying taxes. They will be excused, like other big corporations, from paying. The citizenry needs to rise up and understand why the scientists did not want the plant and why Sebelius came to realize it was not in the interest of Kansans.


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