Archive for Saturday, March 12, 2011

State lawmakers field questions about education funding at Eggs and Issues event

March 12, 2011

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Less than 24 hours after Gov. Sam Brownback cut $50 million in public school funding, education was again the hot topic at the year’s second Eggs and Issues event Saturday morning.

The highest-ranking state senators from each party — Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, and Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton — joined several area legislators who spoke to about 100 attendees in the Alton Ballroom at Pachamama’s, 800 N.H.

As was the case at last month’s Eggs and Issues event, a large contingent of Lawrence school board members and district staff were in attendance, and crowd-supplied questions dove right into education.

Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, gave a passionate answer when one of the questions referred to some of the educational programs that would be cut as “fluff.”

“You think mentoring teachers is fluff? You think after-school programs are fluff?” Francisco said. “We’re not talking about fluff.”

Francisco was joined on the panel by state representatives Ann Mah, D-Topeka, TerriLois Gregory, R-Baldwin City, House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, and State Senator Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City.

The event was the second of three Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Eggs and Issues planned for the legislative session, though the final event has yet to be scheduled.

Hank Booth, the Chamber’s government and community affairs director, said the recent activity in Topeka has created an extra need for dialogue between lawmakers and the public.

“There are so many things,” Booth said.

But education funding and the looming battles over how to deal with the state’s nearly $500 million revenue shortfall highlighted the event.

Hensley, who on Friday criticized Brownback’s education funding cut, said the state has “a difficult challenge ahead of us. We know that 2012 is going to be very difficult.”

Comments

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 1 month ago

Lawrence is fortunate that both the House Minority Leader and the Speaker of the House live here in town.

question4u 4 years, 1 month ago

Mike O'Neal's presence made the name of this event appropriate. When it comes to intelligent response to issues he generally has egg on his face.

FieldTested 4 years, 1 month ago

It was mentioned several times that a budget has two sides: expenditures and revenue. Increasing revenue in non-regressive way is certainly one way to fix this problem in a hurry. If Kansas were to bump up the income tax rates on those whose AGI was $200k+, the vast majority of citizens would not see any increase, basic services could be fully funded, and we could stop shifting the expense burden onto the local governments. For instance, anyone who thinks that shutting down state mental health facilities actually saves money is not paying attention. It shifts the expense to local law enforcement and health care systems, and then average citizens pay much more. The list goes on and on.

Yes, we need to stop shifting the tax burden toward the middle class. No, that is not done by reducing state support for services that will need to be provided in some other way. That just increases the burden at the local level.

Meatwad 4 years, 1 month ago

We could save money by just having a combination school/jail. That's the direction we are heading anyway. As long as people in Kansas keep on voting for a candidate just because they see an "R" next to his/her name, this is what we get. (i.e. Brownback, Jenkins, Yoder)Field Tested has a good idea but that will never pass because the people of Kansas won't vote for people who want such things. Life as we know it is probably going to have to get a lot worse, i.e. crime rates, other nations continuing to surpass us in education, widening gap between rich and poor... before people decide maybe it's time to pay attention during election time and stop just voting for a "letter".

Meatwad 4 years, 1 month ago

I would LOVE to make $200K per year and would happily pay a high tax % if I could be paid so well.

Jan Rolls 4 years, 1 month ago

It's not like you can't deduct taxes on your tax returns. Of course the rich have many more loopholes than the average person.

Scott Morgan 4 years, 1 month ago

Ask not what your country can do for you...

new slogan Tax the other guy.

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