Archive for Friday, March 19, 2010

Parkinson: GOP budget cuts ‘irresponsible’

The House committee approved a plan to cut more from the public school budget Thursday. The plan for additional cuts comes after $5 million has already been slashed.

March 19, 2010


— There was a lot of motion in the Legislature on Thursday over the current budget crisis, but no resolution.

House Republican leaders produced a budget that would keep the lid on state taxes but cuts more from schools and recommends a 5 percent state employee pay cut.

Democrats, including Gov. Mark Parkinson, slammed the proposal and said it showed the need for increased taxes to fill a nearly $500 million revenue hole. “The cuts now proposed by House Republican leadership are, in a word, irresponsible,” Parkinson said. “They are proposing that we cut schools, cut services for the vulnerable and cut programs which directly impact public safety.”

But those thinking a tax increase was gaining traction were disappointed.

Attempts to increase the state sales tax, cigarette tax and alcohol tax all failed in the Senate tax committee. A proposed tax on sugar in soft drinks also was rejected.

House Republican leaders rallied around their budget proposal, which was approved by the Appropriations Committee on a straight party-line vote.

“The instructions were clear. The majority of legislators determined that they didn’t want a budget that relied on higher taxes,” said Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Overland Park and chairman of Appropriations.

The plan would reduce school funding by $172 million by not replacing federal dollars that were used in the education budget this year. It also recommends a 5 percent pay cut to most state employees, which could result in state offices closing at 3 p.m. on Fridays.

Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, voted against the measure, saying that she disagreed with the majority Republicans. “There is a feeling that the school districts have a lot of money out there, and the (past) increases are great, and we need to cut them back. But that is not what I’m hearing from my constituents,” Ballard said.

Republicans argued that school districts could increase local taxes for more revenue, but Democrats said that would increase funding inequities between rich and poor districts.

The GOP plan also calls for cutting all other state agency budgets by 1 percent. The full House will debate the plan next week.


kansasmutt 8 years, 2 months ago

Thank you Repubs , for looking out for us. I was a democrat until Mr. Parkinson came to be in office. NOW I wouldn’t vote for a democrat again , even if he!l was frozen over. ((( An update on the smoking ban)) We are close to getting the paperwork ready to file to stop it. Should have it filed by April 12th or so. The support is overwhelming.

cdcass 8 years, 2 months ago

Rather than just a one cent state tax increase across the board - which most favor, Republicans in Kansas are beginning to sound as ridiculous as Republicans in DC. This sounds like a plan straight out of Brownback's playbook. The disparities and hardship should be handed over to districts to increase mills for what is supposed to the state's responsibility. I have to agree with the Democrats on this one, the GOP plan would create a huge inequity. People all over are saying they would be willing to pay a one cent sales tax increase to help fund schools - the original plan by Parkinson was a good option - or cutting back on corporate tax breaks, but the Republican's can't have that either if they want funds to win their seats back. At a national level, Kansas is being told to raise cigarette taxes...with the newly passed smoking ban, the two would seem to go hand-in-hand in helping some kick the habit.

Paul R Getto 8 years, 2 months ago

There is lots of strutting, puffing and playing with foam swords to come, but by the end of the session, taxes will be raised 300+ million dollars. This will slow the bleeding, but much trouble is still coming. Ask those who run this August if they believe in cutting taxes and government services. That will be the test of how things may go during Governor Brownback's run for president (oh, sorry, term as Kansas Governor.) Meanwhile, enjoy the show and hold your breath. Will 80% of Douglas County stay home in August as they usually do? We shall see; activism washes over the internet daily; the two days that it really counts require people to actually vote with something besides their silly screen names and their computer keyboards.

cdcass 8 years, 2 months ago

Anyone who wishes to oppose the smoking ban - thank a Republican, they do after all control both chambers in the state, meaning, if they did not support it, it would never have passed. I am a smoker, and I do not mind being banned from smoking indoors, have not done that in years anyway; higher taxes would only serve in pushing me to quit sooner. It should be a luxury if people want to poison their bodies, they should be able to afford the medical costs associated with that choice.

cdcass 8 years, 2 months ago

Made_in_China, Hear, hear! Republican's love to raise taxes, in fact they do it more often than Democrats. Voters would never know that though because the Republicans do it in a deceitful way and try to cover it up; then tell you they oppose it to your face.

Jonathan Becker 8 years, 2 months ago

When these Republican smart cats are old and feeble, who will take care of them and change their Depends? Answer: Those poorly educated kids who they did not fund.

KSManimal 8 years, 2 months ago

This group of yayhoos who won't consider taxes...because that will hurt people....are quick to cut the pay of a smaller group of people (state employees) by an amount far greater than any proposed tax increase; not to mention how many have lost jobs all together as a result.....

Yeah they won't increase taxes a tiny bit, to spread the burden across everyone. But, they'll take a few select groups of people and throw them under the bus. Basically, it's a "tax" on public employees - balance the budget on the backs of a select few.

kugrad 8 years, 2 months ago

Thanks Governor. These Republicans are not listening to their constituents but only trying to promote their ultra-right-wing credentials to further their careers as professional politicians. We need term limits in Topeka and Washington and limits on campaign spending if we are ever to have a democratic republic again.

Most Kansans want their public schools adequately funded, never mind the trolls on this site.

kansaspachyderm 8 years, 2 months ago

For Heaven's sake, more money does not equal better education, and being responsible does not equate with spending money we do not have. The economy is the problem. Raising taxes will have a negative effect on the economy which will lead to even less in revenues. Let's study on how to improve the economic health of Kansas. And watch out for the flood of taxes that the federal government is about to unleash.

Paul R Getto 8 years, 2 months ago

To say the least, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. Kansas is a mid-range tax state compared to most others. The overall tax load on citizens as part of their income is about the same as it was in the 1930's and 1940's. As paulette points out, the recent shifts have been away from corporate taxes and towards the middle class. A good mix with few exemptions is probably the best answer. One problem Kansas' schools have is we get better academic results for less money than many midwestern states. This leads some legislators to note we don't need resources to keep making progress. We have pockets of poverty and despair which need more attention and better services to youth, but over-all, Kansas by any realistic comparisons is a top-ten academic state in K-12 education. We need to preserve this status as we all benefit from a good educational system. Most states, like Kansas, spend about 50% of general fund on public schools and another good chunk on universities. There are a few states who spend significantly less, but I doubt many Lawrence parents would want to sent their children to school there.

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 2 months ago

Once again, Getto speaks the truth.

Paulette meanwhile, has just become another cut-and-past robot like Merrill.

avoice 8 years, 2 months ago

KSManimal: Many of us who are State employees have been doing the math on the various proposed taxes on things. As for the sales tax increase, especially that which adds state sales tax to our utilities, the overall effect for my family would be equivalent to accepting a 2-3% pay cut. So if the final verdict was to cut state employees' pay by 2% instead of 5%, I would consider this a wash versus increasing the sales tax I pay and the number of things to which it would apply.

Of course, if you are one of the more highly paid state employees, or if you don't have a family and therefore buy a lot of groceries and supplies, an X% pay cut would have a more adverse effect on you.

sweetiepie 8 years, 2 months ago

I agree with KSManimal--the House really is balancing the budget on the backs of public employees. As well as with some sleight of hand that will not fix a darn thing--only put it off for yet another year. I guess that's what politicians do in an election year, when it's more important to them to be in Topeka than to accomplish anything in Topeka.

I just wish that for once, legislators could stand up and do what's best for all the people rather than what's best for just a few. But that would require a kind of bravery that seems to be sadly lacking in both houses.

Cammie Braden 8 years, 2 months ago

Kansas legislators are saying that they are not hearing from the constituents to support raising state revenues by raising taxes!

This is NOT true! I know people all across the state who are demanding support for Governor Parkinson's budget proposal to raise state revenues. They are telling their legislators to raise taxes!

What do we have to do? Kansas is being hijacked!

We must go public and write letter after letter to all the newspapers in Kansas. Make it simple:

Support Governor Parkinson's budget proposal to raise state revenues!

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