Archive for Sunday, January 19, 2014

Editorial: Budget plans

It will be interesting to see how even the modest spending increases requested by Gov. Brownback will be received by the Kansas Legislature.

January 19, 2014

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The governor’s budget plan, released last week, includes some modest spending increases for fiscal year 2015 but mostly stays — or makes corrections in — the course set during last year’s two-year budget process.

Course corrections for the current fiscal year include $17.8 million to maintain base state aid for K-12 public schools at the approved level of $3,853 per pupil. Other additions for this year include funding to offset about half of the salary cuts approved last year for Kansas Board of Regents universities. The additional $10.9 million in higher education spending the governor has recommended over this year and next is welcome, but it falls significantly short of the $33 million cut from higher education last year.

For next year, Brownback recommended adding $429.8 million to the budget approved last year, but most of that — $362.9 million — will go to the Department of Corrections, whose FY 2015 budget was vetoed by Brownback last year. That represents a small increase from this year, but probably not enough to restore important inmate programs. The governor also recommends $20 million to keep K-12 per pupil funding at the same level as this year and $16.3 million for one of his pet projects, the Career and Technical Education Initiative.

The governor’s budget also includes $16.3 million to fund all-day kindergarten across the state, another initiative that Brownback has been touting. However, he offered no specific recommendation on how to fund that program, saying in his State of the State address that it would be “paid for out of a growing economy.”

There was an interesting contrast between the image of the Kansas economy presented in Brownback’s address and the one depicted in the Democratic response presented by House Minority Leader Paul Davis, who has announced his candidacy for governor. Brownback made reference to an average of 1,000 private sector jobs being created per month during his tenure, as well as top rankings for high employment and a low cost of living in the state. By contrast, Davis claimed that 16,000 fewer Kansans were working today than when Brownback took office, that “property taxes are skyrocketing” and that middle class families are struggling to make ends meet.

Both candidates undoubtedly have a set of figures that back up their claims, and it will be important between now and November for them to share those so that voters can evaluate the information that will be important to their voting decisions.

It also will be important to watch the progress of even the modest budget requests made by Brownback as they move through the Kansas Legislature. Making budget recommendations is the first step, but it will be interesting to see whether the governor can convince legislators to make those recommendations a reality.

Comments

Keith Richards 1 year, 4 months ago

Kansas spent $42,000,000 incarcerating non-violent drug offenders. The information I found did not break down which drugs but I would assume the majority is pot. It seems perfectly clear to me the benefits of legalizing pot could be a massive windfall for Kansas. Saving millions of dollars by not having to prosecute and house pot smokers, smugglers and growers while reaping the benefit of tax dollars. Colorado is reaping the benefits now. Why not legalize pot? The gateway drug argument is a farce. Alcohol is the gateway drug. Do you know anyone who did not try alcohol before trying pot? I don't. Do you know of anyone who has died from a pot overdose? Do you know anyone who gets stoned and then beats and murders others? No, that is alcohol, the legal gateway drug. Those who oppose pot are typically those who have no idea what pot even does and are spouting off old man republican views of the evil devil's weed while sipping their scotch. The painting is on the wall, pot can be a gateway money maker for Kansas.

Beator 1 year, 4 months ago

Let's watch test cases Colorado and Washington. Washington is watching Colorado. Colorado is watching Washington.

Also, Obama said in the New Yorker, Marijuana is no worse than cigarettes or alcohol.

So it must be true.

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