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Archive for Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Statehouse Live: House Republican leadership budget fails

May 4, 2010

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— A coalition of Democrats and some Republicans on Tuesday defeated a House GOP leadership budget, saying that the measure cut too deeply into education and social services. The bill failed, 45-74.

The coalition is holding out for a tax increase and other budget maneuvers to bridge a revenue gap that has been estimated at nearly $500 million.

State Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Overland Park, and chair of the House Appropriations Committee, urged passage of the budget saying it funded critical needs while holding the lid on taxes.

“This budget balances and doesn’t require a tax increase,” Yoder said. “Maybe we need to remember that Kansans all across the state have had to cut their budgets,” he said.

But Democrats blasted the plan, saying it would make harmful cuts on top of $1 billion that has already been cut over the past 18 months from what was once a $6.4 billion budget. And Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat, said he would have vetoed the proposal.

The measure would have cut schools by $86 million, state employee pay 5 percent, and reduced numerous social service programs.

State Rep. Ann Mah, D-Topeka, called it the “new Wal-Mart.” She added, “You can’t have government small enough to drown in a bathtub and big enough to pull your behind out of a flooded river.”

State Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, attacked proposed cuts to services for those with disabilities, and a 45 percent slice out of an early childhood block grant. “These cuts hurt children,” Ballard said.

But business interests stepped up pressure on legislators to oppose any tax increase, and instead called for balancing the budget with spending cuts alone.

“Simply put, we cannot tax our way to economic recovery,” said a letter given to legislators that was signed by 13 members of the Kansas Chamber executive board. Those signing the letter included leaders at some of the largest businesses in Kansas, including Koch Industries, AT&T, Cox Communications, Cessna Aircraft, and Cargill.

The Senate is scheduled to take up a budget and $350 million tax increase on Wednesday.

The tax proposal includes a temporary 1-cent increase in the state sales tax rate, raising it from 5.3 cents per dollar to 6.3 cents per dollar, and removing a state tax break for large businesses. Under the plan, the 6.3 cent rate would fall to 5.7 cents per dollar in 2013. Gov. Parkinson has said he supports the tax proposal.

Comments

Mixolydian 3 years, 11 months ago

It's not an entirely apt comparison. with California. They have a correctional union that has become a spoiled giant. The legislature treats the union like the adults did the little boy with evil magical powers in that Twighlight Zone episode.

In Kansas Public Safety does not only just encompass the Department of Corrections. It also contains the budgets for the AG's office, the KBI, Highway Patrol, Juvenile Justice authority, and various state pass throughs to local LE.

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The_Bends 3 years, 11 months ago

This week's issue of the Economist contained the following article.

http://www.economist.com/world/united-states/displaystory.cfm?story_id=16015487

I thought it was interesting that while many categories of California's state spending stagnated over the past two decades, California's prison system doubled its personnel, grew four times faster than the rest of California's state government, and became California's second-largest employer (at 17% of the total state workforce).

After I finished reading the article, I wondered how Kansas' state spending compared, so I looked through Kansas' Budget Comparison reports. http://budget.ks.gov/comparis.htm

I found that between FY 2000 and FY 2010, Kansas' total state spending on "Public Safety" increased by 91%. Kansas' total state spending on "Education," meanwhile, increased by 40%. (Not adjusting either figure for inflation).

Maybe I crunched those numbers wrong, but I find it a bit unsettling that a group of ideologues can simultaneously advocate smaller government, a larger police state, and lower taxes. Hypocrisy anyone? Well, at least there's no hypocrisy in not wanting to pass cost of servicing the national debt to future generations while simultaneously under-funding the educational needs of future generations.

"Fear" co-sponsored by the Prison-Industrial and Military-Industrial complexes.

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