Archive for Monday, May 10, 2010

Kansas Senate sends $13.6 billion budget to governor

May 10, 2010


— It seemed appropriate that storm clouds surrounded the Capitol.

As the weather deteriorated outside, the Kansas Legislature on Monday lurched toward the end of the 2010 session, a session marked by unprecedented budget shortfalls and bitter rhetoric.

With 21 votes, the bare minimum, the Senate sent a $13.6 billion budget to Gov. Mark Parkinson, who has indicated support of the package. Sens. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, and Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, both voted for the budget.

Meanwhile, the House was dealing with the problem of how to fund the budget.

The Senate has already approved a $314 million tax increase that would raise the state sales tax one-cent, from 5.3 cents per dollar to 6.3 cents per dollar for three years.

Both the budget and tax bills had been crafted by a coalition of Democrats and some Republicans over the objections of a majority of Republicans who opposed a tax increase.

But the coalition contended that the tax increase was needed to avoid further cuts to schools, social services and public safety.

Since Kansas fell into recession, state officials have cut nearly $1 billion. Still, the state faced another $500 million shortfall.

The coalition fashioned taxes and budget maneuvers to cover that gap.

The tax increase, however, has drawn the ire of several groups, especially the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.

On Saturday, Chamber President Kent Beisner criticized legislators, saying, “As of today, the Legislature has failed to address the needs and wishes of the business community. It has instead catered to the needs of those at the government trough."

That prompted a response from Parkinson, criticizing the Chamber for “fanning the flames of partisanship.”

He added, ““It is heartbreaking to think that somebody would equate the disabled, the elderly, school children, veterans, law enforcement and the poor to pigs at a trough. The hurtful words of the Chamber are not reflective of the Kansas I know and love, and they are not acceptable in a time of crisis.”

Legislative leaders on Sunday had talked about ending the session that day, but it soon became apparent there were too many issues still unresolved.

Much of Monday was spent milling around, but then around 5 p.m., House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, announced that the session would draw to an end sometime later Monday or early Tuesday.

The Senate had moments earlier concurred with the House-approved budget, and that seemed to set in motion an eventual vote in the House on the Senate-approved tax plan.

But a number of issues still had to be dealt with, including a transportation plan, increased seat belt enforcement, a nursing home bed tax, and day care regulations.


finance 8 years ago

Thank God. My faith in democracy is affirmed; there really are statespersons in the legislature. This is what allows the world to avoid total explosion and devolution--people who put others ahead of their personal interests. I applaud their wisdom and wish to be first to express respect for their noble acts. Now, for perseverance by those same persons to fight off the wicked onslaught that will look to subvert (via the appropriations/tax side) this decent and humane action. If it helps any, I'll pay my own taxes and someone else's as a gesture of civility and humaneness.

FreshAirFanatic 8 years ago

"Meanwhile, the House was dealing with the problem of how to fund the budget."

Is it just me...or should this be handled BEFORE the budget is crafted?

Tomatogrower...if you followed this example in your home, would it work?

tomatogrower 8 years ago

If I needed more money to save family who were sick, to assure my children get what they need, I would take another job. Yes, I would run my home this way. Would you just walk away from your obligations? or is it just all about you? They have an obligation to educate our children; it's in the Kansas State constitution. If it means more taxes (an extra job) to do it, then so be it. If you think you have no responsibility to educate Kansas children, then I hope you don't end up a victim of one of those kids who didn't get what they needed and turned to crime, but Karma does interesting things. I also hope you are never disabled in an accident. I assume that you won't ask for help? I assume that you have lots of disability insurance and long term care insurance?

geekyhost 8 years ago

My house is not a state government. I don't cut refund checks for my boss, either.

finance 8 years ago

Sigh. Yes, that's how it should be handled. Questions, in order of consideration, should be (1) what do we need to spend? (2) where can we find the money to support it? The other way around is mired in mud, and detrimental to good social policy and and an enlightened way of life.

Maybe putting in terms of your screen name: the questions are not (1) where can I find fresh air? (2) only after having found it, should I take a deep breath? No, I think you'd breathe hard and dash off in search of more.

SeaBee 8 years ago

How can the senate send a bill to the Governor unless the house has concurred?


geekyhost 8 years ago

Oh noez. I'm going to have to pay 5 extra cents when I buy a movie ticket and an extra dollar for my weekly groceries. And all I get in exchange is the knowledge that my kids will be educated, disabled citizens will be cared for, and law enforcement will be paid. Woe is me!

geekyhost 8 years ago

Don't let the lowest tax rate since 1950 stop you. Pull out the whole "everyone send all their extra money to the state" card.

I do donate to the state, thanks. I donate goods, services, and time to the local school and to the university. I've also been known to check the Chickadee Checkoff from time to time. It's funded entirely by people willing to take you up on your dare.

Unfortunately, the volunteers aren't enough to offset the selfish who aren't wiling to donate locally, so sales tax it is.

mr_right_wing 8 years ago could always be worse..... .....couldn't it? .....It could, right? .....Please tell me it could be worse than it is!!!

Turnips to you, Topeka bloodsuckers.

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