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What programs would you cut in order to help trim the Kansas budget?

Asked at Dillons, 1015 West 23rd St. on January 21, 2011

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Photo of Caroline Howard

“Certainly not education.”

Photo of Joshua Sestak

“I would revamp the entitlements system with welfare and all that. ”

Photo of Robin Bang

“I would try not to cut from areas like the arts and parks and rec. That’s generally one of the areas that are the first to go, and I understand that. But it’s hard to see funding cut to the arts. ”

Photo of D.J. Cretsinger

“Maybe tax breaks for the upper class.”


RoeDapple 7 years ago

ku_law, first. not sure what after that.

b22 7 years ago

government worker's pensions, make them get a 401k like the rest of Americans!!!!

Bill Lee 7 years ago

I'd trim a couple of people from the governor's staff. How about requiring politicians to donate all campaign funds left over after an election to the state's general fund?

viagra_sailor 6 years, 11 months ago

then they'd spend any and all extra in the last 24 hours on god knows what

Maddy Griffin 7 years ago

Brownback's salary and do away with the Sec. of state.Like Autie said.And I'd take away health coverage for those who voted against it.

Richard Payton 7 years ago

You forgot a few freegans like booze and cars.

CreatureComforts 7 years ago

My gosh are people on this site bitter when their side loses an election...

meggers 7 years ago

Actually, we all lost in that election. Some of you just don't know it, yet.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

Wow, meg, it's been over 2 years since the 2008 election and you guys still haven't figured out how badly we all lost?

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

They're bitterly clinging to their bitter bitterness.

flux 7 years ago

I like how Robins "mini me" got her head in the picture as well.

Eddie Muñoz 7 years ago

That is AWESOME! I didn't even notice that!

notajayhawk 7 years ago

Let's see if we can sum up the suggestions:

"Certainly not anything that's going to affect ME!!!"

notajayhawk 7 years ago

And you think we have problems here in Kansas ...

"Brown was sworn in to his third term early this month and has presented lawmakers with a plan to balance the state's books with $12.5 billion in spending cuts ..."

Jimo 7 years ago

Nobody is bigger than Texas! $27B deficit and zero appetite for more tax revenues.

Kylee Manahan 7 years ago

no personal property tax on their cars in texas

RoeDapple 7 years ago

He wants to "cut" tax breaks for the upper class. As in "take them away", "no more", "stick it to the man".

RoeDapple 7 years ago

Apocalypse. How it begins . . .

booyalab 7 years ago

I like how only one of the people asked actually answered the question.

Matt Schwartz 7 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Cait McKnelly 7 years ago

While all of the sheep fornicators hang out on the starboard...

Julie Craig 7 years ago

Trim the inflated guaranteed retirements for former legislators and other government employees. I agree with b22.

beatrice 7 years ago

Why the arts? The arts, and the miniscule amount given to the arts each year, is not the cause of the problems facing state budgets. The arts also help pay for themselves through increased tourism. True, not everyone is the type to travel to see art exhibtions, or music events, or theater, but many people of means do. It also adds to a general quality of life that is expected among the well off, or the cultured class, if you will.

We don't need less art in our lives. If anything, we need more. For one thing, the arts are part of education. The arts help to explain the world and reach a common voice that connects all people. Ever notice how, when tragedy strikes, people rush to artists to soothe the pain or help us understand and reflect on what has happened? It is the artists -- the singers, musicians, those who build monuments or paint remarkable images, etc... - who tend to strike the lasting chord. Without them, we would live in a tuneless world with little visual interest. That isn't the world I want. I doubt many others want it either.

TopJayhawk 7 years ago

Well Bea, then let the "well off. cultured class" pay for it. Duh. You don't want them to have a tax break, but you want art welfare for the rich? You are all over the place. Bea wants art welfare........Bea wants art welfare. Welfare for the rich. egads.

beatrice 7 years ago

If it only benefited the wealthy, then you would be correct in calling it welfare for the rich. However, just because people of means expect a certain level of cultural ammenities within a community, those things actually do benefit the entire community. It isn't something just for the wealthy, but is expected by the wealthy none the less. People of means also expect parks and recreational areas, and generally don't move to communities lacking these ammenities either. Would this mean only the wealthy use the parks? Of course not. Same idea with the arts.

George_Braziller 7 years ago

It is a bad thing if they haven't earned the multi-million salary.

Scott Drummond 7 years ago

It is a bad thing because it is indicative of the state of severe unbalance between management and the workforce. Over the last 30 years, as the union movement has been decimated by right wing policy, the working person has lost more and more control in the workplace. Whereas once there was a healthy balance, today most power lies with the management. Unsurprisingly all this management control has led to management decision to enrich themselves at the expense of their workforce and customers, and the slow and steady loss of interest among the workforce in driving innovation and better ways of performing the work.

bd 7 years ago

Sell the Governors mansion, start the elimination of state employees starting at the top! Combine or eliminate agencys that are duplicated by the feds or local counties! Parks & rec. etc.....Do away with the fluff agencies, tourism, commerce, economic development etc....

George Lippencott 7 years ago

Maybe cutting the budget is harder than one would like as there are so few workable and meaningful thoughts above.

If those greedy working people would just give more in taxes this would not be a problem, 40% is certainly not enough.

booyalab 7 years ago

The ironic thing is that increased tax rates tend to result in lower tax revenue as people are less likely to take business risks to make money.

notanota 7 years ago

Not necessarily. Laffer's cocktail napkin was a thought experiment in an economy where there are no other factors. Going in reverse (as he argued) cutting taxes should see higher revenues, right? The Reagan cuts did not generate more revenue, for example, and the Bush cuts also slashed revenue like crazy. I think I read that we saw 17 cents returned for every dollar slashed.

There are many factors that affect business risks. For instance, a lot of people are afraid of taking business risks right now because they can't afford private health insurance if they broke off from their job to start their own business.

jayhawklawrence 7 years ago

Companies can only cut so much. Eventually you have to sell more product or services to stay in business.

I think we need to invest in good salespeople. One great salesman can transform a company. Look what Steve Jobs did.

If we want to attract great businesses to Kansas we have to have great salespeople and great leadership.

notanota 7 years ago

I think we should stop trying to compete for "cheap" and instead work on quality. We'll never win at cheap.

jayhawklawrence 7 years ago

Nothing in this world happens strictly based on the numbers.

Everything is sold.

Bill Lee 7 years ago

I didn't know that Kansas gives foreign aid. This article is about cutting the state budget, not the federal one. Even there, foreign aid doesn't amount to very much.

Deja Coffin 7 years ago

I think the unemployment and welfare systems need to be revamped. Here's my idea (feel free to shoot it down) but I think we should require everyone on unemployment to have to clock-in 10-15 hours at a workforce center in order to be given unemployment for the following week. That way, the unemployed are being accountable and are able to prove they are steadily looking for work and it would also increase jobs for people working in the workforce centers. Now, since that sounds so simple to me, there has got to be a flaw in the idea, what is it? As for welfare... where to begin?!?!

Fossick 7 years ago

Treat welfare the same way, as a job. If a person is getting money from the taxpayers, they ought to be required to provide a service right back. If you don't want to work, the state could provide a one-way bus ticket to California or Illinois or any non-adjoining state of the slacker's choice.

Scott Drummond 7 years ago

What will you do with the young woman with preschool children and no father's support? How is she to work?

Fossick 7 years ago

No one with young kids ever worked? That's a new one.

pace 7 years ago

I don't know about exiling mothers and children to other states. making them hit the road, away from family and friends is all that great. I can see the judges panel now, deciding who gets kicked out of Kansas to Ca. or Il. determingi if they got enough hours in the work program or had the wrong attitude or maybe the wrong shade or party? A lot of hate gets expressed in polite law. . Illinois would be on to it in a minute and just send their "judged" to us To much bus riding, ridiculous plan. I do like the WPA program that taught trades and improved the infrastructure. We certainly need a different and better training for employment. I know many people who got life careers from their stint at ccc. The education and the sense of industry on many levels gave the country energy.

Carol Bowen 7 years ago

How about allowing people on assistance to work and save there way out of assistance? Now, they are trapped. The trap is a subtraction scheme. If a person on assistance works, the income is subtracted from the eligible assistance. Any money saved is also subtracted. And, the amount of assistance is not enough to live on.

Fossick 7 years ago

"And, the amount of assistance is not enough to live on."

If assistance is not enough to live on, what are they saving?

That said, I agree with you on not punishing savings - the tough thing is balancing those who need assistance because they have nothing with those who are able to work and save and therefore are not really in need of assistance.

TopJayhawk 7 years ago

it's the way Dems buy votes and keep people down on the farm voting Dem to make sure that check keeps coming in.

Scott Drummond 7 years ago

What would they do? You can bet that whatever the choice some business person that currently performs the function will scream about the loss of jobs.

George Lippencott 7 years ago

Just what does that mean??

How about we end all welfare - work or starve

Carol Bowen 7 years ago

Again, I can partially agree with you. Some people have learned to live on welfare, but given the current economy, there are many more people who would work if they could. How about a work program?

Fossick 7 years ago

Yes, one that demands work, but not just for the value to society provided by the work, which is likely to be very little, at least at first.

FDR was correct when he called welfare a narcotic and a destroyer of the human spirit. You might not believe this due to my seeming lack of empathy toward the poor*, but I actually work with them no little bit. I have adopted 2 kids of a homeless woman who is still homeless because of a lack of effort on her part. I have foster kids whose parents (and grandparents) are incarcerated. I run food drives and clothing collections and try to assist them not only in getting their kids back, but in being the kind of parents those kids need.

What the poor lack in their lives is not primarily money, and it's not primarily self-esteem, it's the self-worth and money that arise out of actually doing something worthwhile. Most of the poor are not overly stupid - they realize that their lives are being wasted, they can see it circling a drain, yet they lack the skills and most importantly the discipline to do any better. Work provides both.

Without work, skills, and accomplishment, without something that gives them a reason to get out of bed in the morning, without a sense of accountability to others, the person who feels this sense of worthlessness will feel it until she dies of congestive heart failure at 55, alone and obese, with Maury Povich blasting on the TV. We can do better, but we will not do better simply by enabling them to destroy themselves.

  • I actually am empathetic toward the poor: just like them, I don't want them to be poor anymore.

notanota 7 years ago

Oh that's an attitude that ends well. Let them eat cake!

Fossick 7 years ago

I'll take them all except making regulatory agencies self-funded - it's a complete conflict of interest that simply makes business pay protection money to get the government to leave them alone. Far better if the government just leaves them alone.

I might add, repeal any state criminal law that is a mere copy of a federal one e.g. if the feds want to jail pot smokers, they should all go to federal prison instead of state prison.

Eliminate all inter-governmental cash transfers except in education. If a city or county government wants to spend money, they must raise it themselves. No more 'matching funds,' which give the incentive to spend money for the sole purpose of getting more.

Dissolve KPERS and distribute the existing funds to all eligible retirees in proportion to what they have earned. Roll all funds into a 457 or similar government plan.

Eliminate revenue and development bonds that put taxpayers on the hook for private development. If Boeing wants to borrow $500m, their lenders can pay taxes on the interest just like everyone else.

Eliminate welfare/vision/unemployment in exchange for a guaranteed job for a certain number of hours per week. There's plenty of trash that needs to be picked up.

Reduce foster care / family separation to those kids who are in clear and present danger of physical or sexual violence in the home environment.

Carol Bowen 7 years ago

Cutting government employees and teachers would hurt in the long run. Not only would we lose services, we will lose their contributions to the economic cycle. In other words, we would have more people unemployed competing for the few jobs available. More bankruptcies, foreclosures. Less purchasing power. Fewer people to pay the taxes necessary to support the state.

Fossick 7 years ago

"Fewer people to pay the taxes necessary to support the state."

And fewer taxes needed to support the state. Call it a virtuous circle.

Unless the government employee is actually producing something of value to society, simply moving money from one pocket to another has no lasting economic value - you're just wasting time that could be better spent playing XBox.

If more actual value is produced because a person does not work outside the home, but gardens, raises kids, and fixes others' lawn mowers in the garage, society benefits.

FWIW, I'm all for house prices going down. Why would we want people to work just so we can artificially drive up the price of the things they need to live?

Bill Lee 7 years ago

How would this affect the state's budget?

pearlearrings 7 years ago

Todays headline - KU interviewing first candidate for new position of vice chancellor for public affairs - as a KU employee, I believe that the new provost should quit trying to build up his staff and worry about teaching our students with quality faculty - get rid of the tenured deadwood. I also agree with the person who recommended that the number of state colleges & community colleges be reduced. Too much duplication in course offerings for a shrinking population.

FiremanChris 7 years ago

Do you know what's even better than lower taxes and conservative government? Firefighters, cops, public schools, roads, air traffic controllers, trash pickup, health care, scientific research, anti-terrorism, farm subsidies........

Scott Drummond 7 years ago

Maybe we should return tax rates to the way they were when the State and country prospered. Tax cuts for the wealthy have not delivered the promised results, time to ditch the approach.

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Brownbacks entitlements:

His beltway retirement package that is costing taxpayers at least $200,000 a year. He has some high dollar taxpayer medical insurance attached.

Brownback is a tax dollar moocher

Stephen Roberts 7 years ago

I find it funny that Merrill is calling Brownback a moocher. When Merrill thinks something is good, he wants the state & Feds to pay for it but when he doesn't then they should not.

Scott Drummond 7 years ago

Perhaps he's pointing out the hypocrisy of one who wants to cut and cut and cut government benefits for the poor and powerless, yet take far greater benefit from the public trough than any one of those he's harmed ever gained. Merrill can speak for himself, but that is what I get from the comment.

Bill Lee 7 years ago

A lot of people posting here have lost sight of the topic. What programs would you cut in order to help trim the Kansas budget?

notanota 7 years ago

The program of giving tax cuts to the wealthy. Duh! In other words, instead of trimming programs, you increase revenue.

riverdrifter 7 years ago

Combine Kansas' 105 counties down to about 40. Though I'd hate to see it...

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

What programs?

All tax dollar subsidies to corporations new and existing ones. These critters wander about the country looking for tax dollar handouts. Existing ones sometimes threaten to leave if local and state taxpayers do not pay them to stay.... kinda like extortion.

Why? They should be standing on their own not mooching from taxpayers,our public school dollars, our mental health funding, etc etc etc.

Carol Bowen 7 years ago

We need to have a balance between cuts and growth. Cuts alone would have too many unintended consequences. For example, we could cut new construction projects, but that would hurt the building industry. How much free fall can we manage?

Over the past 15 years, we have experienced a lot of tax cuts and other breaks. Trying to renege would be a political nightmare. Could we review what type of organizations are tax exempt? How effective are tax incentives for bringing new business to the state? Or, do the businesses leave before the incentives end?

What could I do, personally? Pay extra for large trash items, use roads less, drive on unplowed streets? I am not really sure what services I get.

The state could keep its word about not creating big government. Every decision the state legislature makes should have a cost estimate and a source to pay for the legislation.

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Cuts in spending put too damn people out of work which does nothing for the economy or for tax dollar generation. All of this talk about eliminating services may have far reaching consequences ..... not a well thought out process.

Once services are deleted where are the tax dollars? What is the state government doing with those tax dollars? I have a good idea. To wealthy corporate america as a bribe to come to Kansas while at the same time being relieved of paying their fair share of all taxes.

As i have stated before Brownback has been a believer in Grover Norquist: BEWARE and READ

"Most of the financial backing for TABOR initiatives has come from antitax fanatics like Grover Norquist, White House insider and intellectual author of the Bush tax cuts, or brothers Charles and David Koch of oil pipeline conglomerate Koch Industries, heirs to their father's company and fortune. As co-owners of their $40 billion corporation, the Kochs have used their staggering resources to start an ultraconservative think tank designed to pump out ideological broadsides disguised as policy studies.

The Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFPF) touts TABOR and other pieces of conservative legislation as overwhelming success stories, usually with validating data from like-minded (and like-funded) organizations. "It's no accident that TABOR's major champions … share many of the same free-market philosophies and goals. They also share many of the same funders--large corporate interests and right-wing private foundations--and in some cases, they share board members as well," concludes a 2005 report by the Bureau of National Affairs, a nonpartisan business news publisher.

Armed with these dubious studies and lots of corporate AFPF dollars, local groups stuff mailboxes full of flyers and whisper in the ears of state politicians. AFPF's director of North Carolina operations, David Neeley, "expects to spend anywhere between $200,000 and $500,000 this year alone on radio and television advertisements and direct-mail promotions."

Stephen Roberts 7 years ago

I would reduce Merrill's pet projects just have have him get more worked up and freak out more.

yourworstnightmare 7 years ago

Education for those making less than $1 million a year.

Police, fire department, and prisons.


If you make enough money, you can pay for all of those things yourself.

Anything more than that is socialism.

Jimo 7 years ago

Can we afford tax welfare for the wealthy any longer? (I'm looking at you Koch boys.)

purplesage 7 years ago

Here's a list:

20-year / 85 and out retirement programs for state and other government workers

Bring the health care plans paid for by tax payers more into line with what the tax payers can themselves afford. Also examine benefits packages for government workers.

Rope in the over-emphasis (read spending) on school athletics programs

Review the way special education mandates are handled

Make sure everyone pays their fair share of taxes

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Cut the program that supports the controlling party's pay. Why? Because the economy has not grown significantly in the last decade. This party owes the taxpayers!

How does the controlling new administration know the cuts he is ordering are necessary and will in fact produce the desired results? Taxpayers need hard evidence NOT political nonsense.

Where is the hard evidence? This question is valid because the same party has been in control for the past 25 years yet economic growth has never been significant.

Tax cuts have NOT provided the desired results!!

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

With the previous post in mind...

How does eliminating jobs at the local and state levels save economies? Where is the hard evidence?

Does anyone reading this want to be without a job?

I say it is better to keep local people on the payroll. In spite of what some local powers that be and our governors think it is NOT good for our local economies to lay people off or terminate them. We need people working to keep money in our LOCAL banks and credit unions and tax dollar cookie jars.

The fewer people working in our community and state the more likely our fees and taxes are to increase.

Let's encourage our elected officials to keep people on the payroll. EVEN if we need to pay a little more.

Instead of further flooding the residential markets let’s put people to work rebuilding our sidewalks,bridges,curbs,streets and create new walking paths throughout our communities which benefit the many.

New walking paths and rebuilt sidewalks could do a lot towards the obesity problem we are reminded frequently. People on the jobs also keep our local economies, local credit unions, local banks and tax dollar cookie jars healthy as wel which ultimately benefit the many.

Yes I would rather my taxes be spent keeping people in Kansas on the job rather than my taxes being spent to afford more tax cuts for the wealthy or to big government corporate welfare.

Tax dollars spent on rebuilding our sidewalks,bridges,curbs,streets and creating new walking paths throughout our communities benefit the many plus create new jobs and keep existing employees on the job.

Does anyone reading this want to be without a job?

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

How to Kill A State Economy?

"The Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, has forced Colorado to spend the last 13 years writing mandatory rebate checks to taxpayers, while vital education and human-service programs have been nearly choked to death. According to David Bradley and Nicholas Johnson at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), for example, "between 1991 and 2003--a period in which the percentage of children who are uninsured declined nationally--the proportion of low-income children who lack health insurance in Colorado rose from 15% to 27%. Colorado now ranks 48th in its level of taxpayer support of colleges and universities, down from 35th in 1992."

Despite the pain TABOR has caused in Colorado, some 23 states were facing similar initiatives at the close of 2004. But Norquist's drive shows signs of floundering. "For businesses to be successful you need roads and you need higher education, both of which have gotten worse under TABOR and will continue to get worse," Tom Clark of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce told the Washington Monthly. "I'm a Republican," Clark said, "but I made the decision not to give any money to the state party." Likewise, Colorado Governor Bill Owens is having trouble garnering support from his own party's legislators, most of whom know their constituents no longer believe TABOR is a good thing. (Clark sounds like my lifelong Fiscal Conservative Republican father in law who this year went to work for democrats after a few years of realizing the republican party walked away from him which is exactly how he described it)

Funded by the Right TABOR is a mutation of the Tax and Expenditure Limits (TELs) instituted in 28 states around the country over the past quarter-century, beginning with Proposition 4 in California in 1979. TABOR is like a conventional TEL on steroids: it has been pumped up with stricter spending limits and tighter restrictions on legislative action. Whereas TELs traditionally tied state government spending to faster-growing personal income, TABOR allows government budgets to grow only as fast as the population plus the inflation rate.

Furthermore, TABOR applies the population-plus-inflation adjustment to the prior year's actual expenditures, not to allowable or budgeted expenditures. So, as the CBPP notes, "when state budgets grow slowly or fall, as in the recent fiscal crisis, actual spending or revenues are likely to be lower than the level permitted by the formula. If this lower level becomes the new base … then the level of public services is permanently ratcheted down." Colorado's TABOR, the only one in effect so far, was also designed to be hard to reverse: only a ballot measure approved by the state's voters can do so.

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

How does eliminating jobs at the local and state levels save economies? Where is the hard evidence?

WE voting taxpayers have always assumed politicians know what they are talking about yet after axing valuable programs... economies continue to struggle.

Tax cuts and eliminating jobs do not help....obviously.

Again how does eliminating jobs at the local and state levels save economies? Where is the hard evidence?

ralphralph 7 years ago

Trim the State Board of Barbering

bd 6 years, 11 months ago

Raise state income taxes 50% Also sales tax on all items except food and drugs!

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