Archive for Friday, August 17, 2012

Brownback says asking for 10 percent cuts in state agencies just first step in budget review process

August 17, 2012


— Gov. Sam Brownback on Friday sought to calm fears about budget cuts after his administration called for state agencies to submit to his office budget recommendations that cut 10 percent.

“This is not an unusual exercise,” said Brownback, adding that the directive to agencies was a first step in a process of budget review by his office.

Democrats have said the directive is the opening salvo in what will be years of budget crises caused by Brownback’s tax cuts.

“The governor has now proven that he intends to pay for massive tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations at the expense of seniors, the disabled and public safety,” House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said Thursday.

But Brownback said he will not cut Medicaid spending and do everything he can to protect funding to public schools.

“I want to see what the proposals look like,” he said of the agency budgets. “We are going to do everything we can to get costs down, while we protect core functions of government,” he told reporters shortly after he presided over a state employee service award ceremony.

Earlier this year, Brownback signed into law reductions in the personal state income tax and elimination of taxes on non-wage income for 191,000 business owners. Democrats and some Republicans have said the loss of tax revenue will force devastating cuts to schools, social services and public safety, while Brownback says the tax cuts will boost the economy.

State agencies are in the process of formulating spending plans for fiscal year 2014, which starts July 1, 2013.

The agency budget proposals are submitted to Brownback for review before Brownback releases his budget plan to the Legislature in January. Any final budget would have to be approved by the Legislature and governor.

Brownback’s Budget Director Steve Anderson directed agencies to propose the cuts.

“As you are likely aware, the FY 2014 budget will require prioritization of programs, consolidation of resources and consideration of alternatives to current organizational structures, funding streams and outdated ways of doing business,” Anderson wrote in a letter to agencies.

He added, “These reductions should be thoughtful efforts at conserving state funds and not simply repeating old proposals that are not practical.”

Anderson directed the agencies to provide a reduced-resource package of 10 percent. And he said no salary increases should part of the budget proposals.


JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 9 months ago

What does "everything he can" mean? Does it mean, "sit on his arse while everything around him burns?"

chootspa 5 years, 9 months ago

Of course not. He's got his fiddle to play.

ljwhirled 5 years, 9 months ago

I really don't think that is an accurate metaphor.

A better metaphor would be "he has his lighter to play with".

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 9 months ago

I thin the journal world should point out that this will be the sixth consecutive year with no raises for state employees. I've had enough. I love my work. I love the people I work with. I hate the Capitol building and all who dwell within. I'm outta here...

Hooligan_016 5 years, 9 months ago

I know someone with similar sentiments. Love their job and co-workers (while doing some of the most under appreciated and compensated work on behalf of citizens) but are absolutely fed up with getting shafted by the state.

Hooligan_016 5 years, 9 months ago

Really? Departments that are there to help citizens (like SRS) can be privatized? I highly doubt that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

Oh, come on-- is that the best fantasy world you can come up with?

ebyrdstarr 5 years, 9 months ago

So, notwhatyouthink, what exactly should an 8 year old child suffering from neglect to do help himself? Or a 40 year old adult who has a developmental disability that makes living alone an impossibility, let alone holding down a job? These are exactly the individual people our government should be helping and I wouldn't want to be part of a society that didn't.

Jefferson_County 5 years, 9 months ago

Said like a consummate moocher. You want it all, and you don't want to pay for anything. Bet you don't even work.

Phillbert 5 years, 9 months ago

You mean like someone who wants things like nice roads and police protection, but doesn't want to pay any taxes?

Alyosha 5 years, 9 months ago

Likely pays for it in taxes, which is how the US has worked for generations, since its founding.

Why the radical anti-democratic tendencies?

question4u 5 years, 9 months ago

"State worker - the ultimate oxymoron. Don't let the door hit ya on the way out!"

This is the statement of a Brownback supporter. Any other Brownback supporters feel just a little uneasy about being lumped together with this guy? Is there anyone who supports Brownback and isn't rabid with hate? Are there any Brownback supporters who think that it's less than admirable to mock state employees when they will be going a sixth year with no salary increase?

This would be a good time to come forward.

Kendall Simmons 5 years, 9 months ago

Why don't you ask Texas how well privatization works? And how "no one notices"?

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 9 months ago

We don't have to ask Texas. Kansas tried to privatize adoption services a few years ago. It was a dismal failure. The problem with the right wing is they just don't get that while the private sector does SOME things better, the PUBLIC sector does other things better. For example, you can buy water at dillons bottled by dasani or Aquafina. They get the water they bottle from municipal water supplies. You have to drive to the store to get it. You pay 100 times more for it. And there is less assurance about the water quality as it is regulated by FDA, not EPA whose standards for drinking water are tougher.

chootspa 5 years, 9 months ago

Ok then. I hope your house doesn't catch fire, because I suspect you'd notice the difference if they only had the budget to put it halfway out.

Mike1949 5 years, 9 months ago

You're either a troll or one of Brownback's flunkies to make a comment like you did. It's too late, the Dark Ages are upon us in Kansas, and pretty soon we are going to read about tribunals sacrificing various state workers and the programs they run.

Don't believe me? Just watch!

Jean Robart 5 years, 9 months ago

It is already happening, and has been for several years.

civilengineer 5 years, 9 months ago

You don't understand. The private sector charges the state more for everything. Remember they have to make a profit!! State employees are generally very hard workers that are underpaid for the work they do for our citizens. There are lazy people in ALL job environments (government, private companies, volunteer organizations, etc.). I have seen it in all of them. Yes they should be held accountable.

And what knowledge do you have to come up with that "50%" number? So asinine.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 9 months ago

Lawrence guy that is the most moronic statement I've ever heard.

When driving your car on a highway, do you stop before each bridge, get out of your car and check to see if there are cracks in the bridges superstructure? Of course not, you rely on a highly skilled engineer WORKING for the state to do that for you.

When you turn your faucet on in your house to get a drink of water, do you send that water to an independent lab to determine if it is safe to drink? Of course not, you rely on KDHE staff to enforce the federal safe drinking water act.

When you play golf at eagle bend, are you worried the dam will collapse? Nope again.

You are fos.

Jean Robart 5 years, 9 months ago

I was a state worker for almost nine years, and I can truthfully say that I and the people i worked with worked their tails off. We knew what we were doing, and did not have an opportunity to sit around and goof off. I am disappointed that you lump ALL state employees in one batch. There are many who work very hard, and are underpaid. There was a lot of crap thrown at us, which made it difficult to perform, but we did it.. Please change your bad attitude.

Alyosha 5 years, 9 months ago

The ultimate oxymoron, in your words, is privatizing public duties and responsibilities. Government services are created by duly elected officials; those services have as their goal not profit but services to the body politic that, through their representatives, created them.

Privatizing public services leads to corruption, unaccountability and a disconnect between the body politic and the actors who carry out the people's will. See ancient Rome for a good example.

Someday people will remember that the goal of government is not primarily, if at all, profit. That's what private businesses and private capital are for. Government services are the people themselves deciding to use the power of government to do for themselves together what no individual can do by themselves.

Why certain citizens have a collective death wish to destroy the only thing capable of securing individual rights — "to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men" — in the face of corrupt corporate wealth shall one day, hopefully, be known, and reversed.

KS 5 years, 9 months ago

Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Less to cut in the budget then. There are a whole lot of folks that would trade you positions! Count your blessings.

akuna 5 years, 9 months ago

When can we expect to see the boost to the economy?

ljwhirled 5 years, 9 months ago

With Kansas unemployment at 6%, substantial economic growth would create a labor shortage.

Companies that don't care about local infrastructure (like meat packing, call centers, etc) would then look to other states for labor, putting factories in places like Flint Michigan where labor is cheap.

Companies that care about the quality of their community, like Boeing, will continue to flee a state with poor infrastructure, poor education and a lack of public services.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 9 months ago

Sam Brownback's word means nothing. State employees need to be on the alert because their jobs are on the chopping blocks across the board.

If I were these employees I would evaluate the situation then begin looking around. This state is on a path to economic suicide sponsored by the Kansas Chief Economic Terrorist Sam Brownback.

Old school republicans,green party thinkers and democrats need to vote out republicans. The new repub candidates have been hand picked by Brownback and Associates which is a train wreck any way you look at it.

Brownback is not healthy for old school republicans,green party thinkers and democrats. Simply put Brownback and associates have no use for old school republicans,green party thinkers or democrats.

Greg Cooper 5 years, 9 months ago

"But Brownback said he will not cut Medicaid spending and do everything he can to protect funding to public schools."

The lies continue. Brownback policies have already led to the "protecting" of school funding. Under what circumstances, absent his resignation as governor, am I to believe Medicaid is sacrosqanct, especially as most Medicaid recipients have little financial impact on his campaign or party?

This man and his other-worldly, wishful thinking have presented a grave problemm for Kansas, other than the wealthy, and we should all be afraid and work tirelessly the demise of him as governor.

Katara 5 years, 9 months ago

"I want to see what the proposals look like," he said of the agency budgets. "We are going to do everything we can to get costs down, while we protect core functions of government," he said in comments to reporters shortly after he presided over a state employee service award ceremony"

I would like to see the Governor's proposal to keep costs down for his staff. I would also like to see his proposal that he will reduce his salary by 10%. The Governor is supposed to lead by example. He wants the citizens to make sacrifices and he should start first.

Joda Totten 5 years, 9 months ago

If Brownback does't propose a 10% salary cut for himself & his staff, he will show just how he shouldn't be trusted.

Kendall Simmons 5 years, 9 months ago

I would love to see every department respond with only the cuts that they have identified as waste.

Forget his 10% "I just want to see what it looks like" figure. Just tell him "we've identified everything we see as wasteful spending."

Carol Bowen 5 years, 9 months ago

We are getting a preview of the GOP playbook. Cut taxes. If that doesn't work, blame it on the world's economy. Cut costs.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 9 months ago

The playbook doesn't stop there: once the services are in shambles due to terrorizing good workers into early retirement, exempt employee dismissal and moving for better conditions, announce that the state cannot provide good services and privatize those services to cronies for political favors. Then folks are grateful for inferior services provided by folks who are paid commission for cutting as many corners as possible while staying legal on paper.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 9 months ago

So then, we will be paying for services + administration + profits. No money saved, but plenty of "stimulus" and free enterprise.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 9 months ago

Sadly, you have the drill down pretty well. This wlll get interesting, particularly when the small goverment types find out their titties are in the wringer too.

Evan Ridenour 5 years, 9 months ago

What happens if the public school financing lawsuit is successful? The first lawsuit was and there is no reason to think that the second one won't be as well considering the legislature has intentionally flaunted the court's ruling on the initial suit.

Maybe the legislature should have defined where the expense deductions would be coming from before cutting a significant portion of the state revenue?!

obamasocks 5 years, 9 months ago

Tax cuts for the rich and less funding for the poor...gotta love republicans.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 9 months ago

This will happen every year. Get used to it.

rtwngr 5 years, 9 months ago

The other choices included spending ourselves into oblivion and continuing to support those that like to mooch off of the system. Some of the cuts he has made are already starting to have a fiscal impact on the bottom line. There is nothing wrong with governing within a framework of prudence. There isn't money to hand out to every person or group that thinks they're entitled to it so stop whining and help yourself.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

"The other choices included spending ourselves into oblivion and continuing to support those that like to mooch off of the system. "

Straw man fail.

Alyosha 5 years, 9 months ago

Your belief that there are people "mooching off the system" is unfounded; at least, you've provided no evidence for it.

As such, it's wholly discountable, wholly worthy of zero respect.

Try to base your beliefs on more than class warfare fantasies. The comment sounds like it was written by a Soviet apparatchik, so little does it accord with reality and so greatly is it infused with ideological certainty.

chootspa 5 years, 9 months ago

Mooching of the system - like the Kochs who now get to pay no state taxes and drive around on our roads for free?

JackMcKee 5 years, 9 months ago

Let me just make a prediction. Sam will be the most unpopular Govenor in state history in about a year.

JackMcKee 5 years, 9 months ago

It's a first step, alright. A first step to even more cuts. This was the idea all along.

Getaroom 5 years, 9 months ago

rtwngr: return to the planet for whence you came (outer space Texass probably) and stop ruining this one. There are enough of you alien r-winger nut cases mucking it up already. Oh, and take Paul Ryan/Willard Romney with you, they have done enough already, more than in enough. That giant sucking sound, is the sound $'s being sucked down the pipe-line, directly into the hands of the rich.

Beate Williams 5 years, 9 months ago

It would be interesting to look at the Brownback budget to see how many of his republican buddies receive moneys through contracts and subsidies of one sort or another and then compare that to "There isn't money to hand out to every person or group that thinks they're entitled to it so stop whining and help yourself." Not to mention all of the money he plans to give to his buddies through the tax cut. He really doesn't care how he is viewed as governor, as long as he can leave a rich man, and I guarantee you he will leave as rich man and will end up being some sort of flunky for the Koch brothers raking in 7 to 8 figures after he leaves. This theory of take from the poor and give to the rich has taken over the country. It appears our government has forgotten that it's role is to govern and it is done by providing basic services through taxation, not simply taxing the poor but also the rich. It amazes me we had people making money all the years of this country with taxes from the rich that did not break them and did not stop economic growth. But everytime we have gone the route of reducing the taxes of the rich our country has gone through recessions or depressions. If you don't heed your history, you are bound to repeat the mistakes of the past. Teachers are not looking for a handout, firemen are not looking for a handout, policemen are not looking for a handout, the people working for EMS or not looking for a handout, the hospital workers, etc. The people looking for handouts are those receiving subsidies and those who want to get huge sums of money for doing nothing. Privatization of governmental functions has not worked and will not work because of greed.

verity 5 years, 9 months ago

Pretty much summed it up, BeachHawk. If I were a betting person, I'd bet Brownback will be leaving the state as soon as he moves out of Cedarcrest.

twaldaisy 5 years, 9 months ago

I'm confused. One week I read where BB cuts programs, etc. Then later on I read that BB is cutting taxes because he got the budget under control. Now he says to cut. Help!

gbulldog 5 years, 9 months ago

How much education does it require to be a State employee? Several year ago Personnel rewrote many of the standard to eliminate professional coursework and degree requirements. e,g accountant and auditor requirements. As such, I question the competancy of many state auditors and accountants. So if an accountant does not have the proper education (they are cheaper to hire and more "politically correct") can we as taxpayers trust what we hear about government finance. As a reduction in force occurs, their is a "brain drain" that is not being replaced. They just home the "computer" will do it right. Hopefull the programers can make the software work so that the undereducated can produce the necessary information to efficiently operate government .

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

Weak premise, even weaker conclusion.

BTW, Brownback has already demonstrated that "qualifications" play a very small part in his hiring practices.

ElGonzo 5 years, 9 months ago

Just like you home your computer was competant to catch your typos. We get it.

Steve Miller 5 years, 9 months ago

It''s all a grand idea in the scheme of things. However for him to gather support across theboard as well as respect, if he cuts 10% or whatever % of anything anywhere, he will need to start with his own salary and his own cabinet. Then proceed on, then we will see how dedicated he really is. Any comments on that ???

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

Wouldn't it be funny if the most common recommendation from these departments would be to fire the political hacks Brownback has appointed to them?

civilengineer 5 years, 9 months ago

Support moderate Republicans and Democrats to take our state back! It's our last chance.

ElGonzo 5 years, 9 months ago

Good old days of indenture servitude and slavery are just around the corner. Then they can take care of the budget and cut taxes. Don't worry our masters will take care of us specially those of us who pray to the right white god. By the way we won't need much more than basic writing (x) skills. The masters will do the numbers for us, only the masters will need their private schools. It worked so well in the past.....A

Biker 5 years, 9 months ago

I am a moderate republican and am not afraid of tax cuts or government being run more efficiently. Many of these comments strike me as Chicken Little-the sky is falling sort of stuff.

The good people of Kansas elected a very conservative politician after years of out of control, unsustainable spending, to not just cut taxes and spending, but to grow the economy. Now that the bills that are past are being enacted, we will all have a chance to see if that happens.

Feel free to make your predictions if you will, and vote him out of office as you may or if he fails to deliver on his promise to grow the economy, but please stop all the whining. He is doing what he was elected to do and this is precisely how democracy is supposed to work.

jafs 5 years, 9 months ago

Except that even folks who voted for him are upset with what he's doing, and feel that he lied to them.

He campaigned on a promise to protect education and social service funding, and then almost immediately cut them once elected, for example.

Since states are required by law to have balanced budgets, and aren't allowed to run deficits, I wonder what the out of control, unsustainable spending you're referring to might be.

KPERS has a problem, but it's primarily because the legislature has failed to make their share of the contributions to the program.

Alyosha 5 years, 9 months ago

Demonstrate with facts your claim of "years of out of control, unsustainable spending."

The spending was sustainable until the fair share that some were paying in taxes was slashed to "create jobs."

Of course, no jobs were created, and the wealthy supporters of the politicians who enacted the tax cuts laugh all the way to their off shore accounts, where they avoid their legal share of US taxes.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 9 months ago

Sam Brownback reminds me of the emporer from star wars, we just need a earth fader type to toss him off the death star...

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 9 months ago

Darth Vader . Why does iPad think it's smarter???

Armstrong 5 years, 9 months ago

10% cuts, great ! When do the lawmakers anticipate giving themselves a 10% pay cut to get the ball rolling ?

sciencegeek 5 years, 9 months ago

It amazes me that Brownback can say he's protecting Medicaid and public education and do it with a straight face. Maybe it's because 1) the out-of-state companies hired to take over Medicare are already ripping off the state and getting away with it, and employees have been scared into keeping quiet, and 2) the rubber-stamp legislature will give the governor the ability to appoint judges who will reduce what the state has to pay for public education to whatever fits the Laffer budget.

Keep this in mind, people: the Koch brothers' father was there at the founding of the John Birch Society. Birchers believe that government should provide roads and armies. Period. Throw in Arther Laffer, and the term "Great American Desert" doesn't just refer to the drought.

verity 5 years, 9 months ago

You're still amazed that Brownback can lie with a straight face? I would be amazed if he ever told the truth. I'm sure the universe would stop, maybe even reverse itself.

Alceste 5 years, 9 months ago

“The governor has now proven that he intends to pay for massive tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations at the expense of seniors, the disabled and public safety,” House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said Thursday.

Perhaps....but WHY doesn't/won't Davis lead by example and come clean on his own personal payoff he's given himself via the way he signed up for KPERS as a legislator? Didn't know the fat cat Democrat lawyer has a sweetheart deal? Here's what he gets.....and he ain't never denied it....nor did he make one movement to fix the dirty deed done dirt quick:

Even though they only really "earn" for a couple of months of the year, they get credit for earning it all year long.

For the legislator listing all income - the daily rate, subsistence and allowance - this is how annualization is calculated: (This formula was only slightly changed in the last "session". These cowards switched the days calculated from a 372 day year to a 365 day year. Big deal. Even more insulting, really because they could have done the right thing....and that included "leader" Davis, if not more so.....):

•$88.66 (daily rate) x 31 (days) x 12 (months) = $32,981.52

•$123 (subsistence) x 31 (days) x 12 (months) = $45,756

•$7,083 non-session allowance.

Altogether, that equals $85,820.52, and that's the pay figure that would be used for that legislator retiring now.

Now then, that political hack who is president of the Kansas hillbilly senate or whatever the operation is has defended this obscene payout because legilsators work for " little money....". Ok....if that is the case, why aren't all civil servants for the state of Kansas allowed to have their KPERS benefit calculated on a 372 day work year?

In calendar year 2010, employer contributions for legislators in KPERS slightly topped $900,000.

A legislator retiring with an annualized pay of $85,820.52, and with 10 years' service, would have an annual KPERS benefit of $15,018.60, for a monthly benefit of $1,251.55, according to KPERS. If the retiring legislator had 20 years' service, the annual benefit would be $30,037.20, and monthly, $2,503.10.

A state social services worker in a supervisory role retired in 1995 after 15 years and draws a monthly KPERS benefit of $524. That is equal to the monthly benefit for a county-level commercial appraiser who retired at 65, vested at nine years with KPERS.

It's for the children, you know. shrug

Ken Hunt 5 years, 9 months ago

Why do the people of Kansas put up with this guy? Wake up Kansas!

Dan Eyler 5 years, 9 months ago

I don't think any government employee should receive a pension period if the tax payer is footing bill. Somebody working for the government is what? What have you done for me lately. Is that the perk for working for the government. That those who don't have to pay your retirement? That might have worked before now. I see the guy working at the hardware store giving me more attention and much better service but he doesn't ask me to tip him. If you're worrying about your pension you better figure out how your going to do it without the tax payer footing the bill. You government employees are just like the rest of us. Whether it be the congress or the man or women giving me a drivers license at the court house, your not deserving of a pension from the tax payer any more than I am. At least not if it's on the tax payers dine. If you demand union benefits than you move into the private sector where the tax payer isn't paying the tab. But expecting the tax payer to fund your retirement is seriously not going to fly much longer.

lawslady 5 years, 9 months ago

How many successful private employers do not pay benefits (including retirement) for their employees? If you want to get sub-standard services and individuals working for the government (thus increasing the complaints about how badly government employees perform), treat them worse than they would get treated in the private sector. Not providing benefits such as a retirement package will guarantee that the government can only afford to hire the dregs (individuals who are so incompentent no one else will hire them).

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