Archive for Wednesday, January 13, 2010

State Democrats want Republicans to offer budget plan

January 13, 2010, 5:15 p.m. Updated January 13, 2010, 5:15 p.m.


— Legislative Democrats on Wednesday criticized Republicans who denounced Gov. Mark Parkinson’s plan to increase taxes.

But the Democrats conceded that many of them don’t support Parkinson’s proposal to hike sales and cigarette taxes.

They did, however, praise Parkinson, a Democrat, for putting out a proposal to bridge a $400 million revenue shortfall, and challenged Republican leaders, who hold significant majorities in the Legislature, to back off criticizing Parkinson and put out a budget plan themselves.

“Now is the time for the majority party to come forward with their specific plan to fill this $400 million budget gap,” said House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence.

At a news conference, Davis and other Democratic leaders said $400 million in cuts would devastate schools, universities, social services and public safety. In 2009, officials cut nearly $1 billion from a $6.4 billion state budget.

House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, said Republicans don’t have a plan yet because they are working through the appropriations process in the various budget committees, and discussing with constituencies what needs to be done.

He said Parkinson and his staff are full-timers, while the Legislature is a part-time job. The idea that Republican legislative leaders should have a budget proposal shortly after the governor unveils his plan “is a little bit too much to ask,” O’Neal said. The legislative session started Monday.

And even Democrats would not get behind Parkinson’s proposals to increase the state sales tax by one cent for three years, and increase the cigarette tax by 55 cents per pack.

Some of the Democrats said a sales tax increase would hurt the poorest the most.

State Democratic Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, however, said Parkinson’s proposal was meant to be a starting point in the debate. “It was the opening pitch. It was not intended to finish the game,” Hensley said.


wastewatcher 8 years, 1 month ago

So much for working together, it seems as though the Dems in the Legislature do not like the Govs plan but don't have the courage to come up with their own. So they whine and ask someone else to come up with a plan so they can whine some more. One must admit that the Govs plan would hurt the poor the most.

weeslicket 8 years, 1 month ago

and we have a winner after only three posts!! nicely done beobachter.

leedavid 8 years, 1 month ago

Still the partisan bickering I see. Yep this is working great for us. Democrats want to get elected so they point fingers at the republicans, the republicans don't want to work with a democratic we all get left high and dry. People posting here are not much better. Why don't the dems and republicans get together and solve the problem?

jumpin_catfish 8 years, 1 month ago

They both should come up with a plan or plans. Stop the damn politicking and serve the people of Kansas.

WilburM 8 years, 1 month ago

Actually, there should be a lot of plans/ideas (need they be partisan) and a lot of discussion. You can call this "bickering," but a lot of it is honest disagreement. That's what was demonstrated on Monday night in Parkinson's address and O'Neal's response. What there needs to be is conversation and actual deliberation, in which all sides seek to build something constructive. I'm not saying this is easy -- but we're really talking about $400M in a $13B budget -- and the potential to raise some revenue, from Parkinson's ideas --- or maybe through a serious look at sales tax exemptions.

As citizens, we ought to call for "productive bickering" -- from legislators whom we have sent to Topeka and who should be looking out both for their constituents and the general good of the state, however they define it.

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