Conservative Kansas Republicans want more cuts to schools, social services, prisons
Topeka ? Conservative Republicans on Friday sought more cuts to schools, social services and prisons.
The proposal — crafted by House Appropriations Committee members Anthony Brown of Eudora, Owen Donohoe of Shawnee and Kasha Kelley of Arkansas City — would slice another $138 million from a previous budget approved by the House.
Donohoe said the measure reflected frustration felt by some legislators who have been encouraged by Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, to propose deeper cuts but then have been unable to see them through.
“All I’ve heard from the governor and everybody is bring us cuts and we’ll consider them,” Donohoe said.
Donohoe also said the proposal would produce a state budget ending balance of $200 million, which is much larger than previous budget proposals.
Brownback has said he wants a healthy ending balance to cover potential revenue shortfalls later in the year. He noted that former Gov. Mark Parkinson made budget cuts because of revenue decreases.
“That’s not the Kansas way, to over-appropriate,” Brownback said. “It would be wise to have bigger ending balances.”
But several Republicans and Democrats on the Appropriations Committee said the proposed cuts were too deep and were being proposed too late in the budget process.
“Anything we have done in this committee is pretty much going out the window with this amendment,” said Appropriations Chair Marc Rhoades, R-Newton.
Rep. Sharon Schwartz, R-Washington, said that filing the amendment so late in the session meant that the budget subcommittees couldn’t review the impacts of the cuts.
The Brown-Donohoe-Kelley amendment would reduce base state aid to schools to $3,602 per pupil. Schools currently receive $4,012 in base state aid per pupil, and the current House budget position is $3,762 per pupil.
Committee members said the amendment would also short the prison system by $44 million and would decrease funding for disability services.
Rhoades said the committee would vote on the measure Monday.