Archive for Saturday, June 15, 2013

Brownback signs two-year budget, with exceptions

June 15, 2013, 12:56 p.m. Updated June 16, 2013, 12:12 a.m.


Republican Gov. Sam Brownback on Saturday showed his frustration with part of the state budget passed by the GOP-dominated Kansas Legislature by vetoing the entire Department of Corrections allotment for fiscal year 2015.

Brownback signed the bill containing a budget of more than $14 billion for each of the next two fiscal years, starting in July.

Although the governor used his power to veto multiple line items, most of the decisions made by lawmakers about spending will take effect.

He let stand cuts in higher educating spending, even though he’d opposed any reduction in state funding and went on statewide tour in April and May to build opposition to the idea. In a message to legislators, he called on them to work with the state Board of Regents to “craft a shared vision for higher education.”

Corrections department officials have worried that they’ll have to trim spending on community programs and lay off parole officers. The governor vetoed several line items that together trimmed almost $3 million in spending from the agency’s budget for the fiscal year 2014, which begins in July, and Corrections Secretary Ray Roberts said those actions “make the state safer.”

Brownback’s decision to veto the Department of Corrections’ budget for fiscal year 2015 — which contained more than $9 million in cuts — is mostly symbolic, because legislators will have an opportunity to draft another version next year. He approved most of the prison system’s budget for fiscal year 2014, which begins in July.

“The Department of Corrections plays a key role in maintaining our state’s public safety,” Brownback said. “Because I consider it inadequate, I veto the FY 2015 budget and look forward to working with the 2014 Legislature in finding the Department sufficient resources to ensure public safety is not imperiled.”

Brownback and Republican legislators made a point of fashioning two years’ worth of spending, saying it would promote stability and allow for greater planning. They also said it would open up time every other year to deeply examine some spending issues.

The overall budget would total $14.5 billion for fiscal year 2014, and about $14.2 billion for fiscal 2015, though the latter figure would include a revised budget for the Department of Corrections.

In a statement, House Speaker Ray Merrick, a Stilwell Republican, said he is “disappointed” by the governor’s decision to alter the budget approved by lawmakers.

“At the same time, we will continue to work with him and the Senate to address current concerns while examining ways to make state government more efficient,” he said.

Aside from a short, formal adjournment ceremony on Thursday, legislators have finished for the year. They still have an opportunity to override Brownback’s veto with a two-thirds majority, but such an effort doesn’t appear likely.

Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley criticized Brownback for “the most irresponsible budget in years.” Democrats contend Brownback and other Republicans want to hold down spending to phase out personal income taxes. Lawmakers approved cuts in income tax rates this year and last year.

“Sam Brownback has signed a budget that will result in cutting jobs essential to our state institutions, raising tuition on our students and jeopardizing the public safety of our citizens,” Hensley said.

Brownback also vetoed two budget items that Attorney General Derek Schmidt, another Republican, had urged him to strike. One would have diverted $600,000 from licensing fees for concealed carry permits to fund general government programs and the other would have placed a salary cap on state agencies, including the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

On higher education, Brownback had limited options because the cuts weren’t separated from the budgets for the Board of Regents and state universities. Legislators cut spending on public universities by 1.5 percent each of the next two years; community and technical colleges will have their spending cut 1.5 percent in fiscal 2015.

But some regents have said the cuts are deeper than they appear because lawmakers also reduced the state funds available for salaries. Brownback said legislators need to work with the regents, who oversee the higher education system, to maintain “our high standard of excellence” while using state dollars efficiently.


JayhawkFan1985 4 years, 11 months ago

Brownback and this legislature will be remembered as the worst things to happen to Kansas since the dust bowl and Great Depression. Knowing that doesn't doesn't help given the damage will have to be endured for decades. God help us all...

Thomas Christie 4 years, 11 months ago

Just because its a little dramatic doesn't make it any less true.

elliottaw 4 years, 11 months ago

wasn't he just saying the other day he couldn't do line item veto's???

verity 4 years, 11 months ago

I have been reading that he couldn't line item veto. But then a little something like the law never stopped him before.

globehead 4 years, 11 months ago

Found this from:

In State v. French, 133 Kan. 579 (1931), the Kansas Supreme Court held that “the veto power of the executive under our system of government is not inherent in such officer as a legislative function, but is a power confided in him by the supreme authority of the state; and in exercising this function, while he is not confined to rules of strict construction, he nevertheless must look to the Constitution for the authority to exercise such power.”7 It is generally understood that the purpose underlying the so-called “line-item” veto power is threefold: "the rejection of legislative logrolling; the imposition of fiscal restrictions on the legislature; and the strengthening of the governor's role in budgetary matters. In other words, the item veto may be said to be at the confluence of the policies underlying the single-subject rule, the balanced budget requirement, and the executive budget."8 In this case the Governor disapproved of a specific proviso within Section 175 and provided a veto message as required by law.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 11 months ago

Thank you globehead, I hope that people read your comment. I appreciate the information.

chootspa 4 years, 11 months ago

I think it was on specific higher ed funding items that he totally wasn't manipulating the legislature into passing the whole time while pretending he wanted more funding.

Miles Nease 4 years, 11 months ago

What? I thought Brownie toured all the universities in support of keeping funding flat! Meanwhile, while Kansas cuts, every other state is increasing its funding for higher education. This Republican has had enough!!

chootspa 4 years, 11 months ago

Oh yes. He toured all the universities and told us all very publicly about how he was actually Good Cop while those naughty legislators that he'd spent a lot of money getting elected last year passed a budget that actually cut higher ed spending and hiked taxes on the poor and middle class.

The only way this will get better is if the rest of Kansas has had enough, too. People need to start paying attention and voting in elections instead of going by the D or R next to someone's name.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 11 months ago

The laugh of the century aka Supply Side Economics continues to cost citizens their jobs while greater spending takes place to Corporate Welfare aka tax dollar moochers. Notice this mooching takes place in Lawrence,Kansas and Topeka,Kansas.

Why do politicians believe it is smart economics to relieve the wealthiest of their tax dollar responsibilities? Portraying this welfare tool as improving our quality of life.

tomatogrower 4 years, 11 months ago

And we have had one of the lowest unemployment rates for a long time, with a nice moderate system that has worked for a long time. But now we are a ultra conservative experiment. I wonder how long it's going to last. You know businesses becomes god, and high unemployment is good for business, since they don't have to pay living wages to those desperate for work, especially if you eliminate all the safety nets for the poor, so that the rich can pay fewer taxes.

elliottaw 4 years, 11 months ago

You know that unemployment numbers only count those who are still apply for benefits, once you are no longer eligible for money most stop applying for it and are no longer counted in The numbers

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 11 months ago

I realized that I have no idea of what Supply Side Economics is, so being willing to admit when I don't know about something, I looked it up and found this article. I don't know if it is from a reputable source or not.

Does anyone know if it is true that all economists are supply siders and how many people actually pay close attention to decisions made by the state legislature that affect us directly? Since being called on a couple of things on these forums I have been attentive to what I write and have learned a few things in the process. So, keep asking what the source for something is.

"The term “supply-side economics” is used in two different but related ways. Some use the term to refer to the fact that production (supply) underlies consumption and living standards. In the long run, our income levels reflect our ability to produce goods and services that people value. Higher income levels and living standards cannot be achieved without expansion in output. Virtually all economists accept this proposition and therefore are “supply siders.”"

chootspa 4 years, 11 months ago

That's a libertarian source. Wikipedia actually has a beter explanation

question4u 4 years, 11 months ago

Owner and CEO 1: Have you heard about what Kansas has been doing to promote business? Bravo! Like their governor says, it's a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart.

Owner and CEO 2: Yes, that's one business friendly state! So, you're thinking of relocating then?

Owner and CEO 1: Well, maybe, if Kansas gets that looming deficit cleared up and shows that cutting funding to higher education isn't going hurt the workforce. Oh, and after my kids have graduated. So maybe in five years we'll think about it. How about you?

Owner and CEO 2: Well, as you know, I don't care about quality of life issues, so the lack of support for the arts and less public recreational land than any other state in the country doesn't matter to me. I probably won't use state highways, so the cuts to those aren't important, but since we're a retail business I'm not sure how one of the highest sales tax rates in the nation would affect us. Maybe in five years or so, if other business relocate we might consider it. Of course, five years from now Kansas might be in really bad shape. Have you heard about that $400+ million court case that the state is about to lose over failing to fund K-12 education? I wouldn't want to have anything sunk into a business in Kansas if that hits the fan.

Owner and CEO 1: Yeah, you're right. We're doing the smart thing by waiting to see how this experiment comes out. But I'm sure it will be a shot of adrenaline to the heart of the Kansas economy, since there must be lots of businesses out there that are eager to start up in a state with an uncertain financial future so long as they can save on state income taxes in the short term.

Owner and CEO 2: Yeah, there must be.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 11 months ago

Let's not forget a recent demonstration of Sam ALEC Brownback frugal spending of our tax dollars. After having forked over $47 million to AMC.

Sam ALEC Brownback is off to Paris to represent Kansas at an air show. What exactly is he doing flying off to Paris? How much does he know about air shows? How much does he know about airplanes?

Perhaps some of his large campaign contributors will be at this air show which allows him to travel incognito as a Kansas rep as he pulls the wool over Kansas eyes.

chootspa 4 years, 11 months ago

You did know that we spend more per capita on healthcare than any other country in the world, right?

Grégoire Guillaume 4 years, 11 months ago

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