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Archive for Monday, February 1, 2010

Legislator says Kansas’ budget needs further cuts

Cites delays in state aid to schools as proof government is still spending too much

February 1, 2010, 11:55 a.m. Updated February 1, 2010, 11:52 p.m.

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— The state delayed paying some promised aid to public schools for a fourth straight month on Monday, leading a key legislator to call for fresh cuts in the state budget.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Kevin Yoder said he worries the state is headed again toward a deficit on June 30, the end of its current fiscal year. He said continued delays in payments to Kansas’ 295 school districts are a sign of trouble.

Budget Director Duane Goossen confirmed that the state made only half of the $96 million in monthly aid payments owed the districts Monday. The remaining $48 million will be delayed until at least the end of this week.

Goossen said the state hasn’t yet made a quarterly,

$70 million payment due on Jan. 15 to the state pension fund for teachers and government workers. That payment — a contribution by the state toward school employees’ pensions — should be made this month, and the delay won’t affect current retirees, he said.

The state has delayed some of its school aid each of the past four months so it can continue to pay other bills on time, including state government’s payroll.

“It’s concerning to us that the executive branch is unable to pay bills,” said Yoder, an Overland Park Republican. “Clearly, we’re still spending more money than we can afford to spend.”

Educators also have been frustrated by the state’s continued late payments, which have forced some districts to do juggling of their own.

“There have been a couple of times when it’s been precarious, making payroll,” said Diane Gjerstad, a lobbyist for the Wichita school district. “You never know exactly when the state is going to make good with the check.”

Yoder’s committee expects to consider a Senate-passed bill this week to ratify some adjustments Parkinson made last year to keep the current budget balanced. The biggest would siphon $80 million away from highway projects to other programs.

But since Parkinson adjusted the budget in November — the fifth and final round of cuts and other changes last year — state tax collections have fallen $34 million, or 1.2 percent, short of expectations.

Rep. Bill Feuerborn, of Garnett, the Appropriations Committee’s ranking Democrat, agreed the revenue shortfall points up a need for more adjustments.

“Where do we cut?” he said. “I think we have to look at all agencies. I know it’s going to be difficult.”

But Senate President Steve Morris is skeptical legislators can impose more cuts so late in the fiscal year.

“No one on our side has talked about trying to do additional cuts,” said Morris, a Hugoton Republican.

In 2009, the state avoided a fiscal year-end deficit on June 30 by delaying $73 million in aid payments to schools from late June into July and postponing $31 million in tax refunds. Such steps are possible again this year.

“The question is, do we want to get ahead of the curve?” Yoder said. “I want to know if the governor is going to re-engage. Does he want to give us some guidance?”

Parkinson spokeswoman Beth Martino said the governor hasn’t been able to find further cuts that are responsible. “At this point, deeper cuts to state programs will jeopardize critical services that Kansans rely on every day,” Martino said.

Comments

texburgh 4 years, 11 months ago

What? The state can't make aid payments to schools and this shows they are spending too much?

Hey, Kevin, perhaps the $10 billion of corporate tax cuts of the last 15 years demonstrate that the state is not collecting the appropriate corporate taxes?

Kansas is not addicted to spending; Kansas legislators are addicted to corporate tax cuts.

SouthWestKs 4 years, 11 months ago

Go Kevin, Go, Whine, whine & whine for the rest of you!!!

sweetiepie 4 years, 11 months ago

This is wholly political posturing. Rep. Yoder knows that there aren't any additional cuts to be made. But he hopes/plans to be out of the state legislature next year, so no matter what, he won't have to deal with any damage he does this year. Plus, this makes him look oh so fiscally responsible to the voters.

frank mcguinness 4 years, 11 months ago

SouthWestKs (Anonymous) says…

Go Kevin, Go, Whine, whine & whine for the rest of you!!!

Hey swkansas, why don't you show us or let us know how the budget problem can be fixed. Kevin says further cuts, but where?

Losers like you can't point any out.

MyName 4 years, 11 months ago

I think he's talking about the FY 2009 budget which you can't really fix through anything except cuts and financial juggling as it is too late since you can't retroactively add any appropriations bills.

If anything, this shows that unless the economy does a huge turnaround soon, there needs to be some kind of revenue increase somewhere in FY 2010 as we couldn't even get through 2009 without juggling.

SettingTheRecordStraight 4 years, 11 months ago

nightmare, sweetie and rooster,

Take your pick from the 120+ line items in the Kansas budget, which equal more than $20.6 billion each and every year. That's 20,000 million dollars of our money. See the attached link at the bottom.

In order to save an additional $400 miliion, to balance the state budget and tp not increase taxes on an already over-taxed population, here's where I'd start cutting:

Board of Regents ($300 million)

Department of Administration ($317 million)

Department of Education ($3,600 million)

SRS ($2,000 million)

Judicial Branch ($122 million)

Kansas Legislature ($16.7 million)

State Fair Boar ($9.2 million)

Kansas Arts Commission ($2.2 million)

And the most ridiculous state expenditure I could find: the Kansas Board of Barbering ($137,000). Yes, it's all about regulating barbers. Please don't tell me there isn't money to be saved in this list.

http://www.kansas.gov/KanView/client/js/#dataTable=agency/index%3Fmode%3DExpenditures%26year1%3D2009%26year2%3D2008

guesswho 4 years, 11 months ago

There is a state fair boar??? That is one expensive swine!

somebodynew 4 years, 11 months ago

@STRS - while I might agree with you on some of those programs, remember the Judicial Branch is already doing furloughs and from what I read SRS is really tight. Now, they could probably cut Legislature a bunch, the others I just don't know about.

BUT, where are they withholding money?? Schools and the retirement system. Keep in mind that they haven't funding the retirement system (as required by law!) for years.

frank mcguinness 4 years, 11 months ago

Wow strs, Its a good thing you are so precise, now I see everything so clearly.

Lets start with the kansas dept of education. Hmmm What will you cut, please be specific as we all know that dept is flooded with funding and clearly the school districts get paid on time.

Kansas arts commission is 2.2 million dollars. Thats about 1 dollar for every kansan. Wheres the waste?

And I'd assume the kansas board of barbering is funded primarily by the fees it collects from kansas barbers considering it's 6 cents per kansan. And then where is the accountability when some inexperienced barber accidently cuts someones head open?

Steve Bunch 4 years, 11 months ago

Another dim bulb burning 'neath the capitol dome. Moron.

TheBigW 4 years, 11 months ago

How about we cut the pay of those who waste time and our money to outlaw crap like K2 and funny looking lighters as a place to start.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 11 months ago

I read this at http://www.domeontherange.org/2010/01/dear-kevin-nero-yoder-it-may-be-time-to.html

Kevin Yoder in December, 2008 - "This is an opportunity to cure some of the longterm problems that have plagued us."

Kevin Yoder in January, 2010 - "We have a golden opportunity this session to make government run better on less money."

Proposals by Kevin Yoder to cure longterm problems and make government run better on less money between December, 2008 and January, 2010 - Zero.

A long list of expenditures is all well and good, but which ones are you going to cut? Which ones haven't been cut already to the tune of 10 to 15%? Which ones are taxpayer funded? To STRS' dismay the Board of Barbering's budget from taxes, according to the link STRS posted, is $0.00.

SettingTheRecordStraight 4 years, 11 months ago

Rooster,

I'd consolidate 50% of Kansas' 308 school districts. Then I'd consolidate classrooms by adding two kids per classroom. Then I'd sell underutilized schools such as Cordley Elementary and New York Elementary. Then I'd cut administrative salaries by 20%. Then I'd place a freeze on new football stadiums, indoor aquatic centers, soccer field "warming huts," etc.

The Kansas Arts Commission is a waste because it exists. State government should have nothing to do with using my money to pay for arts and crafts programs. Believe me when I say I want my $1 back.

Finally, regarding the Kansas Barbering Board, you are almost certainly correct that the Barbering Board is funded by fees charged to barbers. As with every government fee, however, those costs get passed on to you and me. And this doesn't take into account the annoyance of on-site inspections by regulators and the hassle of filliing out government paperwork.

I'll conclude with a call to remove $4 billion from our $22 billion annual budget. Why stop at a mere $400 million?

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 11 months ago

SettingTheRecordStraight (Anonymous) says…

I'll conclude with a call to remove $4 billion from our $22 billion annual budget. Why stop at a mere $400 million?

Why would anyone take you seriously when you just suggested the state has a $22 billion budget?

frank mcguinness 4 years, 11 months ago

You want your dollar back?

Are your kids ignorant hicks too?

And I'll be sure to grip at my barber for the additional penny for each of the 6 hair cut I get yearly. What a pain in my rear.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 11 months ago

Again, according to the link provided by STRS only $1.4 million of the Arts Commission's budget comes from tax dollars. The remainder is federal dollars and Kansas is a net importer of federal funds.

With that $2.2 million total budget, however, the Arts Commission has produced studies documenting a total economic impact of $153.5 million and a return to the state treasury of $9 million in tax revenues.

So perhaps the rest of the state owes the arts commission $6.8 million.

SettingTheRecordStraight 4 years, 11 months ago

Bob,

Sorry. $20.6 billion. I must be thinking about next year! http://www.kansas.gov/KanView/

Comrade,

Great point. Why do we still have 105 of everything? Doesn't make sense - unless you're opposed to change and making tough decisions.

frank mcguinness 4 years, 11 months ago

Great post, I would go further and consider consolidating counties. Chris Steineger, a democrat has proposed reducing the number of counties down to 13. Additionally, his plan would reduce the size of the legislature. It would streamline the justice system and numerous departments.

The above was posted by comraderedrooster and I would like to take a second to commend him on the "most intelligent" post he has ever created. You sir are on an upswing. Keep it up.

I will note that his post was an idea created by a democrat.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 11 months ago

SettingTheRecordStraight (Anonymous) says…

Bob,

Sorry. $20.6 billion. I must be thinking about next year!

That's not the budget, STRS. That is an accounting of spending.

From your link I would direct you to http://www.kansas.gov/KanView/variance_budget for an explanation.

The state does not have a $20.6 billion budget, either. Again, according to your own link that is a false statement.

BigDog 4 years, 11 months ago

State funding in the budget has been reduced by over $1 billion in the last fiscal year. From $6.4 billion to $5.3 billion.

If you know anything about the state budget as some here proclaim ...... they should at least know where to find it. I think it is just beautiful to have budget solutions coming from so many who probably know very little about the state's budget and impacts. It would be like me hearing that your company have a $50 million budget and without know exactly what each budget item is ... make suggestions on how you can reduce your company's budget.

SettingTheRecordStraight 4 years, 11 months ago

Bob,

Even if budgeted expenditures differ from "an accounting of spending" by 1.9% you and I cannot diminish two inescapable facts.

1: You will do anything - absolutely anything - to defend bigger government and higher taxes.

2: There is so much fat in the Kansas state budget that trimming an additional $400 million in wasteful spending is the least we can do for a still-struggling Kansas economy.

SettingTheRecordStraight 4 years, 11 months ago

rooster,

Calling my children "ignorant hicks"?

You may have massively underdeveloped social skills, but referencing my kids is off limits.

Danimal 4 years, 11 months ago

Yoder is a clown, he needs to go. He is the definition of career politician. He held student-elected political offices at KU and ran for public offices as soon as he graduated. He is the prototype of everything that is wrong with our political system right now.

I think that we should suspend extracurricular activities until the education side of schooling is fully funded again. I know that everyone would scream bloody murder over losing sports for a while, but most of our kids need to be able to read more urgently than dribble a basketball. I know these are pretty radical thoughts to a lot of people who seem to think our public schools exist solely to provide sports programs. Tough times mean having to make tough decisions, and we can all thank our bankers and officials like Yoder that got us into this mess.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 11 months ago

STRS, I'm just quoting your links.

It is a shame you decided to resort to hyperbole just because I'm offering some corrective criticism to you.

You could have just said, "I've got no real proposals, I just like to complain".

SettingTheRecordStraight 4 years, 11 months ago

Bob,

You may have missed my "real proposals." Here are a few of them again. (Note: None of my proposals rely on raising taxes on Kansas families or businesses.)

I'd consolidate 50% of Kansas' 308 school districts. Then I'd consolidate classrooms by adding two kids per classroom. Then I'd sell underutilized schools such as Cordley Elementary and New York Elementary. Then I'd cut administrative salaries by 20%. Then I'd place a freeze on new football stadiums, indoor aquatic centers, soccer field “warming huts,” etc.

BigDog 4 years, 11 months ago

STRS .... how would you consolidate classrooms by just adding two kids to a classroom?

Maybe I am misunderstanding but if you had 22 in a classroom that you are now consolidating ..... are you going to ship these kids to 11 different classrooms ..... would they still be in the same neighborhood or are you shipping kids across town and in rural communities to neighboring towns?

BigDog 4 years, 11 months ago

Also ask Chris Steineger which counties he would like to merge with so that they can help run the area that used to be Wyandotte County ..... maybe Johnson County could help them out

And where is his legislation on this idea?

Since he is running for Secretary of State maybe he will cut down on election costs by consolidating election polling places ..... maybe we could just text in our votes

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 11 months ago

That's not a real proposal.

Here's a map of every school district in Kansas.

http://www3.ksde.org/eddir/usd_map.pdf

Cut this number by 50%, please.

gccs14r 4 years, 11 months ago

Maybe we can release everyone whos' sitting in jail/prison for simple possession. That should put a dent in the $300+ million a year we spend on incarcerating people.

Jonathan Becker 4 years, 11 months ago

STRS

After you cut the Kansas Arts Commission, what are you going to do over on the income side of the ledger since the federales match that money with about 3.5 million. That 5.7 million generates jobs and those jobs generate taxes which means that you and your corporate friends can enjoy the free ride.

Same thing for much of the money on the SRS plate is matched by your income taxes being funneled back into Kansas.

Your meat-cleaver approach to budgeting just means more money going to NYC and California. Are you really so hateful of this state?

Your proposal is simplistic and reflects poorly on the proposer.

63BC 4 years, 11 months ago

Yoder is right.

Factually, objectively right.

If spending were lower, we'd better be able to meet our obligations out of existing cash flow.

He is factually correct.

getreal 4 years, 11 months ago

Go ahead Mr. Yoder and cut education more. Try to win an election in Johnson County with that mentality. You just gave your election to Nick Jordan.

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