Archive for Friday, May 6, 2011

GOP in House and Senate create a budget gridlock for Kansas

May 6, 2011


With the legislative clock winding down, work on the state budget halted Friday as House and Senate leaders announced an impasse.

House Republicans, who hold a 92-33 majority, blamed Republicans in the Senate, while Senate Republicans, who hold a 32-8 majority, blamed Republicans in the House.

And Democrats blamed Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican.

“He’s got 92 and 32,” said Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka. “It’s important the governor show some leadership.”

Both Hensley and House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence also complained that Brownback has shut out Democrats from budget negotiations. Brownback’s office did not respond to the comment.

Early Friday, Ways and Means Chairwoman Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, told House budget negotiators that the last two budget offers from the House had gone backward and the two sides were “growing further apart.”

House Appropriations Chairman Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, said, “I think the House feels we have done most of the giving.”

The two sides agreed to meet again Monday but set no time. McGinn said she wanted the House to produce another offer.

After 13 rounds of meetings, the House and Senate remain far apart on all major budget items, including funding of public schools and social services.

Essentially, the House wants to cut more spending in order to build up a larger ending balance for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1.

House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, said a larger ending balance helps the state maintain cash flow in the event that revenue collections fall below projections.

“Your revenues don’t come in as estimated, you go under water and everyone gets cut,” O’Neal said. He said the ending balance should be in the $50 million range.

Senate leaders said they don’t want to build an ending balance at the expense of funding needed services. The state budget has already been cut by more than $1 billion over the past two years.

The Senate’s ending balance proposal is around $26 million, which includes $22 million in revenue that came in above the estimate for last month.

“We’d all like a healthy ending balance in this budget,” said Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton. “But we’d also like to make sure our local schools stay open, our senior citizens are cared for, and our economy remains on track for recovery. We have the ability to do both.”

On school funding, the Senate proposal would cut base state aid to schools by $226 per student, or 5.6 percent. The House plan cuts it by $250 per student, and Brownback had proposed a $232-per-student cut. Any of the plans would drop school funding to its lowest level in a decade.

And, as in all legislative sessions, there are several policy issues unrelated to the budget that are coming into play in the negotiations.

When legislators return Monday, it will be the 87th day out of a scheduled 90-day session.

McGinn has filed a bill that would cut off legislative pay after Thursday if the session goes into overtime. O’Neal described the bill as “window dressing.” He said it would be impossible to put it into effect in a timely manner, but he said he agreed with the sentiment and would urge all legislators to forgo their pay if the session goes beyond Thursday.


Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 11 months ago

"He said it would be impossible to put it into effect in a timely manner,"

Yeah, because somebody somehwere might have to press a button and stop paying legislators. Absolutely impossible to do that.

newmath 6 years, 11 months ago

what a joke. I am just waiting to see what the layoffs look like to make a rainy day fund.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 11 months ago

I'd call it a circus, but they're fun and funny. This is just sick.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 11 months ago

If it's true that the government that governs least governs best, then an impasse is a good thing.

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

Except without a budget, what happens then??

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 11 months ago

It's like going to a restaurant, and finding out that you can't get your food because the cooks are arguing on how best to cook it.

But on the other hand, under this particular analogy, these particular cooks are arguing over whether to give you one large, lethal dose of poison, or whether to poison you slowly over several weeks or months.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 11 months ago

I don't know, what does happen?
Likely scenario: State employees will be given vouchers (as has happened in California). Banks will honor the vouchers for some period of time, usually enough for the legislature to agree on some compromise. New spending programs will have to be delayed. The credit rating of the state might take a hit, costing the state more money for future borrowing.
In the short term, a lack of a budget will have an impact on only a very small number of people. And in the long run it will have virtually no impact whatsoever as the state is too big to fail and a budget will be passed.

weeslicket 6 years, 11 months ago

from the article: House and Senate leaders announced an impasse. House Republicans, who hold a 92-33 majority, blamed Republicans in the Senate, while Senate Republicans, who hold a 32-8 majority, blamed Republicans in the House.

golly-whompers. it's like looking for a rhino in a herd of rhinos.

weeslicket 6 years, 11 months ago

but seriously, folks. setting most mathematics aside.

does anyone else remember the "most hideous, awful, 1 cent tax ever created"!! i remember this "tax burden", mostly because of the "terrible burden" it would create on me, other individuals, and businesses (some of which have not yet been created).

that tax burden, that i did not FEEL even ONCE, brought in about $300 million. yup. $300,000,000. now, go back and read the article again, and look at the numbers quoted.

what might shakespeare say?
a $0.01 tax! a $0.01 tax! my kingdom for a $0.01 tax!

oh. the burdens we kansans must carry......

repaste 6 years, 11 months ago

That "1%" part of almost 10% of everything anyone buys, you did not feel it because you were unaware, people freak if we raise income tax "1%", but in Lawrence we now have several "1%" coming at us from different directions. Not everyone has luxury of not caring how much things cost. 10% of everything is a very stiff tax for many.

mloburgio 6 years, 11 months ago

why are the Kochs buying our democracy?

Charles and David Koch are worth $42 billion and make $13 million every day while vulnerable Americans struggle to afford shelter and groceries. Meet three Florida seniors who rely on Social Security and are fighting back against the Koch brothers attempt to make them homeless. They told the Kochs what's on their minds. What would you tell the Kochs? Have your say at

notanota 6 years, 11 months ago

You could talk to their paid spokesboy, Dave Trabert. He posts here to argue that we shouldn't give teachers and firefighters retirement benefits.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago

The Kochs help buy the republican party. The repub party is a goner.

chipmunk 6 years, 11 months ago

When compromise and shared governance is viewed as weakness and surrender, as they are by the radical right now controlling the House, you get this pathetic circus where fashioning a budget is impossible and blaming each other the only thing that gets done.

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