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Archive for Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cuts to state education funding hot topic at Eggs and Issues forum

February 13, 2011

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Scanning the name tags of the audience at Saturday morning’s Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Eggs and Issues event gave a good indication of the day’s hot topic: cuts to state education funding.

At least a quarter of those registered for the event were from the Lawrence Education Association, and many more featured “USD 497” on their name tags.

Answering a variety of questions was a panel made up of area state representatives Ann Mah, D-Topeka, TerriLois Gregory, R-Baldwin City, Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, and House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, plus House Majority Leader Arlen Siegfreid, R-Olathe; and state senators Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, and Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence.

There were plenty of questions but not enough time as focus of the moderated discussion shifted to proposed cuts to state education funding.

“It’s stirred up a little bit of discussion, to say the least,” Davis said.

Kansas faces a $492 million shortfall in revenue for the coming fiscal year, starting July 1, and Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget recommendation — revealed in January — includes a $132 million cut in this year’s education spending.

Several of the lawmakers warned that potential budget cuts could force school districts to raise local revenue, which would be more difficult for smaller districts.

That could result in “a state of haves and have-nots,” Holland said.

Siegfreid, however, emphasized making tough decisions in tight economic times.

“We can’t print money,” he said. “We don’t cut for fun, we’re cutting out of necessity.”

Hank Booth, the Chamber’s government and community affairs director, said Saturday’s event broke an Eggs and Issues attendance record, as more than 120 ate breakfast and listened to lawmakers in the Alton Ballroom at Pachamama’s, 800 N.H.

Booth attributed the strong turnout to the education concerns and the many new faces in the Kansas legislature.

“All eyes are focused on Topeka,” Booth said. “Everybody’s watching.”

Following Eggs and Issues, school board and city commission candidates engaged in a dialogue and met with the public in a forum sponsored by the Voter Education Coalition.

The Chamber will sponsor two more Eggs and Issues events before July, including one in March, though a date for the event has not been set.

Comments

question4u 3 years, 10 months ago

“We can’t print money." Neither can schools. Thank you, Arlen Siegfried, for your work to increase our local mill levies. Now, would you please eliminate state corporate taxes so that we can raise the local mill levies even more?

kugrad 3 years, 10 months ago

Next up from the parallel universe of Arlen Siegfreid: "We can't print money, but we can print vouchers."

Armored_One 3 years, 10 months ago

I wonder how much that deficit would shrink if they would stop offering tax breaks for companies?

Flap Doodle 3 years, 10 months ago

"i have decided to leave the forum. goodbye. i am signing out. SVEN January 29, 2011"

As we said earlier - I tried the forum to post when appropriate. It lasted about 6 hours and then the wingnuts - Jerry Springer show crowd took over and took it up to 290+ posts. GOOD BYE It is more like the Jerry Springer show than anything rational, in part due to the moderator's policy interpretations. we ARE NOT posting again - sorry. February 8, 2011

Tyler Palmer 3 years, 10 months ago

With failed corporate tax experiments like Ireland and Texas, you'd think people would realize that you can't just count on consumer consumption to fund government. If you don't have adequate corporate tax rates, when people start saving their money instead of wasting it on crap they don't need, you get huge deficits like we're seeing in Texas.

This myth that you have to not tax businesses in order to grow the economy is total crap. Historically, some of the strongest economic period have been when corporate taxes were the highest and businesses were expected to contribute their fair share. Businesses use and benefit from government services just as much (usually more then) regular citizens do.

It's disturbing to me that so many politicians will only consider cutting taxes and won't even bother looking at the revenue side of the equation.

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