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Archive for Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Statehouse Live: Elderly services cut; “Rainy Day Fund” proposal unveiled

January 5, 2010, 2:00 p.m. Updated January 5, 2010, 2:15 p.m.

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— The Kansas Department on Aging on Tuesday announced the suspension of four services for low-income seniors because of recent state budget cuts.

The action will affect 550 elderly Kansans and were instituted because of Gov. Mark Parkinson’s budget cuts announced in November.

“This was not an easy decision,” said Acting Secretary of Aging Martin Kennedy. “We know these are services that many Kansas seniors rely upon to stay in their homes. But we can’t continue to provide them and stay within our budget. However, we’ll continue to monitor expenditures and restore these services if conditions allow.”

The suspended services provide dental work and assistive technology support, which includes pieces of equipment, such as grab bars and bath benches, and home modifications, such as ramps. In addition sleep cycle support was ended, which helps those who need assistance or observation overnight. The agency also stopped comprehensive support services, which provides a wide range of assistance, such as reading and addressing mail.

The services are provided under a state and federally funded program that is designed to help the elderly stay in their homes instead of going to a nursing home.

Kennedy said the services are the most recently added to the program and that by cutting them the agency will be able to continue basic assistance to approximately 5,400 seniors and avoid a waiting list. The service suspensions are expected to save about $2 million, $625,000 of which are state funds.

In November, Parkinson announced a $260 million plan to balance the budget in the face of falling tax revenues.

2 p.m.

Kansas voters could decide in November if state government should set aside tax monies for a “Rainy Day Fund.”

The proposal was unveiled Tuesday by state Sens. John Vratil, R-Leawood, and Laura Kelly, D-Topeka. Gov. Mark Parkinson also signed on board.

Vratil and Kelly argued that the “Rainy Day Fund” could help the state weather the kind of revenue decreases in the current recession that has produced significant budget cuts.

The state budget has undergone five rounds of cuts, and lawmakers still face an estimated $300 million shortfall when the 2010 legislative session starts Monday.

“As revenues have tumbled over the past two years, the state has been forced to make draconian cuts to essential Kansas programs,” Vratil said.

State Sens. John Vratil, R-Leawood, and Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, hold a news conference Tuesday in the Senate chamber to propose a constitutional amendment that would set up a "Rainy Day Fund" where some tax monies would be held back from spending in good economic years, and then could be spent during lean times, such as now.

State Sens. John Vratil, R-Leawood, and Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, hold a news conference Tuesday in the Senate chamber to propose a constitutional amendment that would set up a "Rainy Day Fund" where some tax monies would be held back from spending in good economic years, and then could be spent during lean times, such as now.

Kelly added, “Wise families set aside savings for a rainy day, and businesses hold back money for revenue downturns. The events of the past two years prove the state needs to do the same.”

Under the proposal, the Legislature would have to set aside one percent of state tax revenues any year those revenues increase by 3 percent or more over the previous year.

Legislators would be unable to draw down on the “Rainy Day Fund” unless state general fund revenues dropped below the previous year’s total. If that happened, then a majority decision by the Legislature and governor could appropriate those funds. Should the “Rainy Day Fund” reach 7.5 percent of the total state general revenue fund budget, then the set asides could be suspended.

The proposal would amend the state constitution, which means to get on the ballot it will require a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate. If that happened, it would be on the November ballot for voters to decide up or down.

During a news conference by Vratil and Kelly, Gov. Parkinson issued a statement supporting the measure.

“This bipartisan effort demonstrates the progress that can be made when politics are set aside for sound policies,” Parkinson said.

Comments

mr_right_wing 4 years, 3 months ago

We're just gonna let 'em die under obamacare anyway. Why throw good money after bad?

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parrothead8 4 years, 3 months ago

It's pretty stupid to cut services for those who are least likely to be able to weather the changes, and least likely to be able to do things for themselves.

And it's pretty stupid to start talking about a "Rainy Day" fund in the middle of the flood.

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ASBESTOS 4 years, 3 months ago

"we were going to utilize the dental fund for my mother, seems like everytime we find a solution, they've “cut the services”, changed the format, and point blank lied to me about her benefits…."

The "new normal" in the United States of Amerikka. People thqat have "paid into the pool" their entire life are getting cut, and the rest of us are getting taxed and "fee'd" higher and we will ever increasing "benefits".

When simple issues become so complex, it is because as is the case, politics and government have intruded where they are unwelcome, incompetent, and incoherent, and everything descends into a chaotic discordance that is very expensive and totally ineffective.

This is why the old "red Team/Blue Team" approach does not work.

The Right needs to pull their head out of their arses and realize that the entirety of the goobernment is not made to produce a christian caliphate.

The left needs to get a clue and know that if you hand everything to the goobernment, they usually f' it up royally, and the the "Red Team" comes in and does silly things with the money.

I finally realize the reason there is no one "representing me" is that I was "ahead of my time" by about 18 years to be exact.

I was no fan of the "Bush Dynasty" and I hated the Politics of Division and dependency by the Democrats. This was also the time Kansas GOPers were making arses out of themselves with the "Summer in Wichita" driving the GOP wedge issue into clearly insane areas of social conservatism. They totally ignore "political conservatism" and "fiscal conservatism" in persuing a christian caliphate. This is were they left me in 1991. And democrats are just insane and disconnected from reality.

So I voted for Perot.

Here we are 18 years later and people are understand that the Republican brand is damaged and rightfully so. If you are going to be a right wing social zealot then bully for you, but don;t expect any support from me. If you want to "join a tea party" and really do great things for this country such as getting this great nation back on it's feet, when welcome back to "Conservatism"..

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energy03 4 years, 3 months ago

They get paid to pretend like they care.

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StrangerCreek 4 years, 3 months ago

Well, their sitting in bright shiny new offices in Topeka. Why should they care?

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feetup 4 years, 3 months ago

we were going to utilize the dental fund for my mother, seems like everytime we find a solution, they've "cut the services", changed the format, and point blank lied to me about her benefits....

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Bruce Bertsch 4 years, 3 months ago

Just a thought...Remember all of those tax cuts and tax deferrals you handed out while revenues were shrinking? That, my friends, was your rainy day fund. Now that the money is gone, its a little late.

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pace 4 years, 3 months ago

These are the same people who are against health care reform and lie about death panels. They are driving the elderly to live under the bridge while funding the corporations. They cut services that help people stay in homes, driving them into more expensive and stressful care situations. Often after bankrupting, delivering the family home to banks. They cut the throats of the elderly with this one.

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calvin 4 years, 3 months ago

I wonder how much they paid for the sgin attached to the podium in the picture. Looks like a wate of tax payer dollars to me.

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