Letter to the editor: Fund the water fund

To the editor:

Every Kansan needs safe water. Our main water sources in Kansas are being depleted and contaminated. Thanks to the Kansas Water Office, Kansas Water Authority, K-State Department of Agriculture and USGS, among others, efforts are ongoing to overcome these problems. However, these projects must be funded for necessities like the purchase, installation, monitoring and maintenance of equipment and new technologies.

Way back in 1989, Kansas lawmakers passed a statute creating the state water fund to pay for programs to ensure that Kansans have safe water. The law spells out how the Water Fund is to be funded: It shall receive $6 million a year from the state general fund plus $2 million a year from the state’s share of lottery revenues. However, for the past several years, our governors refused to budget any dollars from the state general fund for the water fund, and former Gov. Brownback did the same in his current proposed budget.

Nonetheless, Lawrence Republican Tom Sloan, chair of the House Committee on Water and Environment, introduced a bill (HB 2528) this session that would amend the law to make all of the water fund’s statutory $8 million come from the state’s lottery revenues. This seems like a no-brainer proposition to me. But apparently lawmakers on the legislative budget committees are expected to again refuse to stray from the governor’s budget with its big fat $0 for the water fund.

To the executive branch and budget committee members, I say what the heck are you doing not following Kansas law and not funding the water fund? How about some transparency on who is making this decision and why?