Advertisement

Archive for Tuesday, January 25, 2011

State options few

Gov. Sam Brownback and many governors across the country are faced with cutting spending, raising taxes, or both.

January 25, 2011

Advertisement

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, as well as governors throughout the nation, are being criticized for calling for major, if not drastic, cuts in many of their state’s large tax-supported programs.

Brownback is being attacked for proposing cuts in state funding for education, eliminating some state departments and the merging of others. He is facing up to the realities of Kansas’ fiscal condition.

The public considers some programs as untouchable, sacred cows and believes the governor is insensitive and uncaring in proposing any cuts in these areas.

The fact is, whether in Kansas, Illinois, California, or even Washington, D.C., and in the federal budget, the chickens are coming home to roost. After years of spending beyond their budgets, states and the federal government are almost broke. It is so serious there is talk about allowing states to declare bankruptcy.

When President Obama was handing out billions of dollars in stimulus money to hire more police, teachers and to fund numerous other programs, politicians supporting the Democrats and Obama loved it. Few of those authorizing the payouts, and few of the recipients, talked about how they planned to pay for the added services when the federal funding ended. Obama alone is not responsible for the current crisis, but he and Democratic congressmen approved massive spending legislation.

Some of the federal handouts may have resulted in and perhaps were created with the idea of winning votes. But now the federal government and the states are trying to figure out how to balance their budgets. How do states come up with the money to replace vanishing federal dollars and pay for the teachers, police and other programs previously funded by Uncle Sam?

There are only two ways out: Cut spending and/or raise taxes.

States can’t print money as the federal government does so easily. States can’t vote on increasing their debt limit as Congress does to pay for the constantly growing federal appetite.

Tonight, during the State of the Union, Americans will hear how Obama intends to deal with the historic, ugly and deadly federal debt. Brownback and other governors already have tried to present their critical fiscal situations in a clear, easy-to-understand manner. They have proposed cuts or huge tax increases, or both.

The public thinks it is entitled to more and more services but usually thinks someone else should be expected to pay for the ever-increasing costs of those services.

As noted above, the chickens are coming home to roost and now the president, governors, members of Congress and those in state legislatures have to face the option of either making major cuts in expenditures or raising taxes. Otherwise, the recent stories telling of economic disasters in Greece, Spain and Ireland soon could be repeated in news stories with datelines of Washington, D.C., Lincoln, Jefferson City, Springfield and Topeka.

Comments

ralphralph 3 years, 8 months ago

We need to make sure we take care of those who CAN not help themselves (as opposed to those who just WILL not do so). I'm thinking of the "developmentally disabled" (formerly known as mentally retarded) at places like KNI in Topeka. These people are helpless and fully dependent, and unable to function in "community settings" if there were any such settings available. Their care is very expensive, and that makes it a repeat target ... but there's no other, better way. We have to take care of them.

Tell Gov Sam that he must not close KNI.

0

Kookamooka 3 years, 8 months ago

Its ridiculous to do one with out the other. Cut spending AND raise taxes. We are at a time in our States history where if Brownback doesn't tap the wealthiest, we will drown. There is no such thing as "trickle down" only larger yachts.

0

Ralph Reed 3 years, 8 months ago

@LesBlevins. re: your 0601. The LJW has a blog feature, why not publish it there? Or go to blogspot, publish it and link to it?

@Corky. re: your 0600. Oddly enough, I agreed with much of what you posted. Your last comment, a stab a liberals and Democrats, pretty much negated your intent though. Without that comment you make a little bit of sense, with that comment your political stripes show and people will ignore you.

0

Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 8 months ago

You insisted the President had nothing to do with oil prices. Perhaps Ralph Reed agreed with your argument based upon your persuasive presentation of facts.

Yet now here you are criticizing him for agreeing with you.

0

jafs 3 years, 8 months ago

Your continuing misrepresentation that Obama is not criticized by the left is mind-boggling.

Listen to Democracy Now, and you'll find much criticism of Obama and the current administration. That's a "far-left" source, is it not?

0

Phillbert 3 years, 8 months ago

So does this editorial attacking the stimulus for preventing cuts to schools negate all the previous LJW editorials bemoaning cuts to schools?

0

weeslicket 3 years, 8 months ago

well, don't you think you're asking too much of mr. simons? consistency in argument is hard. screeds are easy.

0

usnsnp 3 years, 8 months ago

Don't want to hear the complaints from the people that are for massive cuts in the state budget when their favorite program, or tax breaks, or subsidy is cut. We are all in this, Republican, Democrats, Independent, etc.

0

lawslady 3 years, 8 months ago

It may be time to sound the dooms day horn. Stocking up on water, food, amo sounds like a good idea whose time may, sadly, be soon here.

0

gbulldog 3 years, 8 months ago

It is not only the State Budget hat is in trouble, but many personal budgets that are in trouble. Our income is not going up, our taxes have increased, and are costs are increasing. Also signs of deflationary are appearomg in a major segement of our economy (real estate). I believe the primary reasons is the decrease in the educational standards and willingness of employers to hire with decreased reliance on an education (work experience as a substtitute for edcation), (See State of Kansas position descriptions as an example.)

David Clouston of the Salina Journal wrote an article asking "Could You Have Passed this 8th Grade test in 1895?" After reading the test, two thoughts occurred: 1) Why was so much expected of the 8th grade class of 1895 compared to what is expected of the students of today, and 2) How long will it take for the United State to be torn apart? When I was in college, I read a book written by Browne (I think). I do not rember the author or the title of this book, but the book delt with how to deal with deflation. One chapter, delt with the chaos that would result. I pray and hope this never happens, but as the Chineese become more powerful, thanks to Walmart and Federal Government borowing, it maybe closer than I realize.

0

kugrad 3 years, 8 months ago

The article is wrong. The chickens are not coming home to roost after states spent "years of spending beyond their budgets." The truth of the matter is that states irresponsibly cut tax revenues over and over again. These "Cuts" were back-door local tax increases. Now the well has run dry at the local level, but the state, lacking any planning or foresight, now finds they cut taxes below the level needed to sustain the services the state needs and the public wants. No one of any reasonableness wants our public schools destroyed or their quality lessened, but that is exactly the way we are headed without improving the funding situtation. This is a result of going overboard on the tax-cutting frenzy, fueled largely by the political ambitions of conservatives, not the will or voice of the public of Kansas. The state cut their portion of property taxes that goes to education, they cut all sorts of taxes on businesses - including businesses that aren't even located in Kansas. They gave away tax exemptions like halloween candy. Now we act like it is impossible to ask the public to bear even the record low levels of taxation we have today. Restore some taxes for God's sake, we don't worship at the alter of no taxation. We want our schools to be top-notch, not bargain bin.

0

weeslicket 3 years, 8 months ago

oh crimony. you beat me to it.

at least the kansas model has proven:
it is actually possible to constrict revenue sources to such a degree as to drive a state into the ditch of insolvency.

how does this happen? 1. decrease revenue collection in the hard times 2. decrease revenue collection in the good times 3. to psuedo-quote another poster..... rinse and repeat.

hard to imagine how such a plan would actually lead to catastrophic financial failure for a state. nope. no possible way that any sensible person would consider that if you kept reducing your "household income", that you might actually put the entire "household" at risk. nope. no possible way to predict something like that ever happening. (nope)

0

weeslicket 3 years, 8 months ago

again, in way late.

just wanted to comment on how dolph managed to blame the financial problems of the state of kansas (a very red state, in case you weren't aware) on president obama. spock says: fascinating.

also from dolph: "After years of spending beyond their budgets, states and the federal government are almost broke." perhaps this could be thought of as: After years of reducing the revenue streams that fund their budgets, states and the federal government are almost broke."

who could have predicted that underfunding could lead to catastrophic loss? (who knew?)

0

weeslicket 3 years, 8 months ago

again, in way late.

just wanted to comment on how dolph managed to blame the financial problems of the state of kansas (a very red state, in case you weren't aware) on president obama. spock says: fascinating.

also from dolph: "After years of spending beyond their budgets, states and the federal government are almost broke." perhaps this could be thought of as: After years of reducing the revenue streams that fund their budgets, states and the federal government are almost broke."

who could have predicted that underfunding could lead to catastrophic loss? (who knew?)

0

weeslicket 3 years, 8 months ago

again, in way late.

just wanted to comment on how dolph managed to blame the financial problems of the state of kansas (a very red state, in case you weren't aware) on president obama. spock says: fascinating.

also from dolph: "After years of spending beyond their budgets, states and the federal government are almost broke." perhaps this could be thought of as: After years of reducing the revenue streams that fund their budgets, states and the federal government are almost broke."

who could have predicted that underfunding could lead to catastrophic loss? (who knew?)

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.