Archive for Saturday, March 12, 2011

Statehouse Live: Groups criticize Brownback over budget cuts

March 12, 2011


— Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget cuts will hurt public schools and low-paid state employees, representatives of those groups said.

On Friday, Brownback ordered $56.5 million in cuts after fellow Republican budget negotiators in the Legislature couldn’t reach an agreement on how to balance the state budget for the remaining part of the fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Brownback said the cuts were needed to bring the budget into balance by the end of the fiscal year as required by law. “These are certainly difficult times and difficult choices must be made. We must return fiscal sanity to government,” he said.

The Legislature faces a deeper shortfall for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1, of nearly $500 million.

Of that $56.5 million in cuts, Brownback sliced schools by $50.2 million.

“Making public schools great for every child is not on this governor’s agenda,” said Blake West, president of the Kansas National Education Association.

Referring to Brownback’s Roadmap for Kansas, which the governor proposed during his campaign, West said, “It seems Gov. Brownback’s `Roadmap for Education’ is an unpaved path taking our students back to the 19th century.”

Jane Carter, executive director of the Kansas Organization of State Employees, criticized Brownback for cutting $1.3 million from state employees who were found through a state study to be severely underpaid and were given a market adjustment.

“It is disappointing that everyone who received a market adjustment for this current fiscal year 2011 back on July 1, 2010, will get a pay cut from their already inadequate paychecks,” Carter said. “This move is clearly an assault on state employees and an indication that our budget shortfalls will be passed off on to the public servants of the state,” she said.


Jimo 7 years, 1 month ago

Who knew Kansas was a banana republic where Our Dear Leader rules by decree?

WilburNether 7 years, 1 month ago

"Decree?" Nonsense. It's the rule of law. What the Governor did is absolutely within the law. You need to study your civics before spouting off.

Thinking_Out_Loud 7 years, 1 month ago

That, Mr. Nether, is exactly so. Whether you like the Governor's choice is a different issue, entirely. But it is, indeed, rule of law.

TheStonesSuck 7 years, 1 month ago

no kidding, is Brownback king now or something? Kansas has a cool and dignified history. Over the past two decades, our elected officials have turned Kansas into a laughing stock... regardless if you love KS like me, or are just here because this is where you're from, make no mistake about it. The worst part is that the blame can only be placed on Kansans themselves... we are largely sheep who mindlessly tow the Republican party line. The scary part, is how the repubs have us absolutely convinced that they have our interests in mind. Wake up, fool!

barlowtl 7 years, 1 month ago

Somewhere in his childhood Brownback must have been kept after school 1 time too many and now finally has gained enough power to get his revenge. Voters really must look beyond the cover sheets on the resume's of those who ask for our vote. At best it is very difficult these days to return a defective product.

notanota 7 years, 1 month ago

He took advantage of our fine public instituions, and his education was part of what propelled him into a career as a "public servant," but now that he's done with the system, he's making sure nobody else can do the same.

WilburNether 7 years, 1 month ago

Greed? Absolutely. The selfishness and greed of the K-12 industry are bankrupting this state.

lastcall4oh 7 years, 1 month ago

How many red marks on his wrists from self flagellation after these cuts?

handley 7 years, 1 month ago

How about getting the loop holes out of the taxes so that the top 5% pay their fair share of the taxes. Everything the G.O.P. does is for the rich.

Dan Eyler 7 years, 1 month ago

Handley, what loop holes do you think should go. Let us know the first 3-4 on you list? Curious?

WilburNether 7 years, 1 month ago

(1) And the country is not doing that any more since Obama immediately ended the wars, right? (2) All of it appropriated by a Democrat Congress. (3) Right, take out the Kochs, and the tens of thousands of jobs their enterprise has created. Good thinking! (4) Republicans did that? Oh, that's right, it was a Republican President who pushed for an implemented all those trade agreements in the 90's. Oh, wait, it actually wasn't. (5) Sooooo obtuse. (6,7,8,10,11) Um...dude...the citizens have done a very nice job of holding different opinions on these issues. Suggesting that the Republican Party is responsible for that is laughable. (9) No, actually, keep public employee unions and their bought-and-paid-for Democrat Party from bankrupting cities, states, and the nation. All you need to do is look at California, assuming you know where it is. (12) And you were just all lovey-dovey toward Bush, right? (13) Um...the K-12 industry accounts for more than half of the state budget. Throw in higher education, and the percentage is significantly more than half. When the state faces significant fiscal shortfalls, there is simply no way to have a balanced budget without cutting education funding. That's simply math. You should try using it sometime. (14) Laughable.

Stop hating, and start thinking.

kugrad 7 years, 1 month ago

OR, you could increase revenue by one of a number of means such as - taxing people who make over $200,000 a year more, because they CAN afford it - reducing the size of business tax exemptions and credits - have a very, very small income tax increase.

ANY of these things could solve the budget problems. It is totally and completely dishonest to portray this as a one-sided up-against-the-wall, darn-this-economy, we-are-broke situation. Revenue could be raised if education was valued. The politicians in Topeka are not looking out for the people of the state, they have other interests they place first.

volunteer 7 years, 1 month ago

Somebody give us some context. Where will this leave per pupil funding compared to what it was before the Sp Ct increased it? Didn't that judicial decree give schools a 10% increase for three or four years when the inflation rate was 2% per year?

Dave Trabert 7 years, 1 month ago

Total Per-Pupil funding in 2010 was $12,330; state aid was $6,326…federal was $1,603 and local was $4,401. For the 2005 school year (immediately prior to the last court ruling), total aid was $9,707; state aid was $5,346…federal was $902 and local was $3,459. The total increase is 27% with component changes of 18%, 78% and 27%, respectively. Complete details by district are available at

Removing $50 million from K-12 education spending in Gov. Brownback’s Budget Report published in January would leave $2.91 billion in state aid this year, or $6,391 per-pupil. Yes, that is still a slight increase over 2010 total state aid. The Budget Report initially had total state aid at $6,500. The $50 million reduction was about $109 per-pupil.

Inflation rose 10.4% between 2005 and 2010 (BLS, Midwest Urban Cities).

Bob Burton 7 years, 1 month ago

Schools that get $10K per student get about $4K from the state.. So you have to cut $500 to get a 5% cut for schools.. Some schools get as much as $19K per student.. A $500 cut for them is 2.6% per student.. I think they should be able to handle the cut with out to much trouble..

tomatogrower 7 years, 1 month ago

$10,000 per student? Where did you get that figure?

Shardwurm 7 years, 1 month ago

Of course the people who were slated to the money would be opposed to it.

Everyone knows that better education is all about how much money you spend on it and has nothing to do with efficiency or people just doing their jobs like their supposed to.

If we picked one school in Kansas and gave it a billion dollars for one year do you really think their average student performance would improve that much? If you went to Lawrence High and gave every teacher there $250,000 would they suddenly become so much better that all the students score in the top 1 percent? (One thing we know for sure in this scenario is they'd all b&$$# about the taxes.)

It's not about the money. It's how we're spending it and who we're giving it to. Pay the good teachers, fire the bad ones. Until you can do that there is no amount of money that is going to improve education.

llama726 7 years, 1 month ago

You act as though there aren't bad people in every profession, as if most teachers in Kansas just suck, and as if teachers are asking to be paid $250,000.

None of that is true, though. If I were going to school to become a teacher right now, I'd simply stop. Why go into a profession that is so criticized by everyone around the country, just to help their kids? So their kids can have the same attitude? What a waste.

proudtoteach 7 years, 1 month ago

the governor’s proposed $3,780 base aid per pupil for fiscal 2012 would be the lowest since the 1999-00 school year’s $3,770 and, adjusted for inflation, nearing the spending level of 1992

Read more:

Dave Trabert 7 years, 1 month ago

Yes, that's how the Wichita Eagle and other media selectively tell the story but BSAPP is is only the starting point for calculating total aid. Total state aid in 1993-1994 was $1.47 billion; in 1999-2000 it was $2.11 billion and this year after the recision it will be $2.91 billion. In per-pupil terms, state aid went from $3,359 in 1993-94 to $6,391 this year. Total aid (state, federal and local) went from $5,987 to $12,067 (based on KSDE estimates for Federal and Local plus the revised state budget).

Per-pupil revenue and spending by district back to the 2005 school year is available at

Total aid to schools this year will about $5.5 billion.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 1 month ago

Of course educational associations are in opposition. What is getting less coverage is the extent of GOP dissatisfaction with this move.

GOP voters and lawmakers from Johnson County are not happy, and this was compounded by the recent judicial ruling that Shawnee Mission cannot raise their own taxes to pay for their local schools.

This could be the opening salvo in a war that will continue to divide the GOP in Kansas.

kernal 7 years, 1 month ago

Gov. Brownback, you get what you pay for.

coderob 7 years, 1 month ago

If these cuts include cuts to school lunches, I vote we start calling him Brownbag.

sully97 7 years, 1 month ago

The real agenda: his donors

At the top of the list? Wait for it.. Wait for it...

Koch Industries.

You know who's not on that list? KNEA. This is just more of the national republican campaign to destroy unions, the middle class, the two party system and democracy writ large.

Take to the streets

sully97 7 years, 1 month ago

not sure where that myth came from given that conservatives started two disastrous, protracted wars while cutting taxes. The last democratic president left us with a budget surplus.

400 people in this country have more wealth than half the nation. that's 150 million people that have less combined wealth than 400 people whose taxes continue to be cut. There's your fiscal irresponsibility.

conservatives love to talk about cutting spending as if the nation were a "household" and as if that's the ONLY thing households do. you know what else households do? they go out and try to raise more revenue. They pool their resources to make sure that all are taken care of. They invest in their own education and that of their children. households teach fair play and sharing. If sacrifice must be made, the parents do without before their kids. They don't tell the youngest, least capable child to go live on the streets because he doesn't earn money and then turn around and blame him for the sad state their in.

tomatogrower 7 years, 1 month ago

Exactly! I couldn't believe when Graves was governor, and we had large surpluses, and he used that as an excuse for cutting taxes. In a real business or household they would either save it for a rainy day or invest in something on their house to make it worth more. It was like saying, "Hey boss, I have money left over after paying all my bills. Maybe you should cut my pay." If those surpluses had been saved, we wouldn't be in this mess now. We could be cutting into our savings to ride out the hard times. My granddaughter's school has laid off several teachers. Most of her classes have 30 or more students in each class. Tommy boy and his buddies apparently don't care if their kids get a good education. They are apparently filthy rich and can afford private schools. And of course, none of them attended public schools. Wimps, everyone of them. Someone paid for their education, now they can't pass it on. Heck, they might not get to stay at a five star hotel when on vacation. How dare the children of Kansas ask them to educate them. At least have the guts to say you are greedy.

1957 7 years, 1 month ago

Talk about myths.

The last Democratic president left us with a budget surplus because of a Republican congress that held the purse strings and he had a growing economy with increased tax revenues because of the policies of a previous Republican president.

The super wealthy react when taxes go up. They leave which means instead of increased revenues from this source you get less. Look at high tax New York state and there budge problems compared to low tax Texas. People vote with their feet.

The only way to increase revenue is to grow business and jobs. More tax payers mean more revenue. Raising taxes does neither.

As far as the analogy of a household goes people also are, or should be, taught responsibility. You need to work and learn to take care of yourself. You cannot spend your life living off the others in the family. One day the parents will be gone then what do they do? It does a child a real disservice to make them dependent. You are suggesting we become dependent on these 400 people by confiscating a certain percentage of their wealth.

The philosophy you advocate has been tried before and it does not work.

tomatogrower 7 years, 1 month ago

Then why haven't the businesses created jobs? They are making a profit now, Why add some employee that they have to pay? It would cut into their profit. And don't ask them to care if these people go hungry, because they refuse to hire more people. Let them eat cake, right?

notanota 7 years, 1 month ago

I've talked with most of our local senators an reps, and they're as frustrated by the whole thing as we are.

notanota 7 years, 1 month ago

Because Lawrence doesn't elect many idiot Republicans.

KSManimal 7 years, 1 month ago

The budget was left sitting on purpose to create the illusion of impending crisis, thus giving brownback justification to do what he & his cronies have planned to do all along.

Recall that brownback included this current cut to K-12 in his budget proposal back in January. Now he acts like he was forced into it by the inaction of the legislature. I call BS.

He also campaigned on the pretense of holding K-12 funding harmless. But look at his current budget axe job: 50/56 million comes from K-12. K-12 makes up 50% of the budget, yet gets 90% of the cuts. So much for holding harmless......

kugrad 7 years, 1 month ago

It is true that our local delegation (on both sides of the aisle) is frustrated over this, but with one exception. Anthony Brown, who represents Eudora and parts of Lawrence (north and by prairie park) talks out of both sides of his mouth. He will do whatever his conservative buds tell him to do as he has no backbone of his own. Don't confuse him with Tony Brown, Baldwin, who is excellent.

This crap comes from Kansas Policy Institute, Americans for Prosperity, and other Koch bros. front groups that pretend to represent grass roots Kansans but actually represent business interests that could care less about education. Note that our local Chamber of Commerce supports public education. Note also that the Senate Majority Leader (Morris) also thinks Brownback is doing the wrong thing here. In other words, there is a broad bipartisan group of intelligent people who agree that Gov. Brownback is going too far here. The old "liberal" or "Leftie" name-calling tactics won't work on this issue.

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