How can Kansas with a Republican Governor and Republican control of both the House and Senate pass budgets that have a 6.7% increase in the State General Fund? How can an amendment to the appropriations bill in the House enacting a spending freeze at 2011 levels only garner 8 votes out 125? Why wasn’t the one-cent increase in Kansas’ state sales tax repealed, a repeal on which many freshmen Republicans ran?
How can east coast governors, in the land of liberals, Republican Governor Christie and Democrat Governor Cuomo cut spending to begin to bring their budgets under control while Kansas, in the land of conservatives, increase spending by 6.7% over 2011 levels and an astounding 15% increase over 2010?
The world indeed seems to have turned upside down and inside out!
Well, here’s my perspective, for what it is worth. Governor Brownback came home to Kansas after 12 years in Washington with a wonderful opportunity to lead our state out of this spending addiction cycle of more resources going to the public sector, which requires ever increasing our taxes, which drives more and more businesses out of Kansas, which requires even more increases in taxes.
Governor Brownback chose to go the less bold road of holding the status quo (opposed the repeal of the one cent sales tax and raided KDOT for $200 million) with promises that as soon as the Legislature is out of session and the administration sees our tail lights leaving, that is when the changes will be made!
OK, nice story, but I thought it was the Legislature’s job to pass a conservative appropriations bill that would have at least capped spending at 2011 level and made the necessary cuts to truly balance our books. Yes, education would have taken an additional $257 million in cuts (approximately 8% total cut), but the state’s reserves would have increased by $200 million.
Meanwhile, the schools have $750 million of unencumbered cash in their reserve funds while the state reserves estimated in the House version of the appropriations bill are $78 million (which is now reduced by an additional $10.1 million due to ANOTHER increase in estimates of Human Resources caseloads). Schools are sitting on more than 10 times the amount of estimated reserves for the entire Kansas State Budget!
So my friends, it’s up to you, because you cannot trust the overwhelmingly Republican House and Senate to abide by the Republican platform of less government, lower taxes or opposing illegal immigration (interesting how Republicans went flying from the immigration issue, but at least now I know whom I don’t want in a foxhole to watch my back).
No, Topeka’s “kick the can on down the road” mantra is alive and well with the attitude of “there’s always next year when we politicians will really be brave and will get the job done.” Do you know how long that excuse has been used? It seems this annual game plan has been used extensively in both the Senate (well, at least they have the reputation of being liberal) and the House (that really surprised me, because I really believed House Leadership was fiscally conservative).
With the budgets that the House and Senate passed we simply have set ourselves up with an impossible task for the 2013 budget year that will require even deeper cuts (which we won’t make) and the sunset of the .6 cent sales tax will be kissed goodbye.
Peasants with pitchforks are needed to get the attention of the Topeka elite. They don’t think that you, the voters, are paying attention. The Topeka elite believes that they can operate in the Capitol bubble and not have to bear the consequences at the ballot box in 2012. I hope they are wrong, because we need another dramatic defeat of incumbents who annually pass appropriation bills with spending increases intact. Then and only then will the message come through loud and clear, the good people of Kansas will not stand by and watch silently as their state is brought to the brink of bankruptcy.
As we go back in session on the 27th, please continue to hold me in your prayers.
Representative, 27th District
Republicans hold just a two-point lead over Democrats on the Generic Congressional Ballot for the week ending April 24, 2011. This is the narrowest gap between the two parties since October 2009.
The GOP has been consistently ahead on the Generic Ballot since June 2009, leading by as much as 12 points and as little as two. The week before Election Day last November, support for Republicans peaked at 51%, the highest level of support either party has enjoyed in the last two years, but GOP support tapered off after that. Democrats enjoyed a seven-point lead on the Generic Ballot when Barack Obama took office as president in late January 2009, but their support has generally remained in the mid- to upper 30s since June of that year.
Treat Your Mother to an Afternoon Tea this Mother’s Day
In honor of Mother’s Day, the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm Historic Site will host a Mother’s Day Tea from 1:30-3:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 1. The event is open to mothers and daughters ages 12 and up. Event participants will learn about 19th Century etiquette, make a craft, and enjoy treats, tea and a stagecoach ride. Musical entertainment will be provided.
Tickets are $12 per person and Olathe residents receive a $2 discount. Reservations may be made by calling the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm at (913) 971-5111, emailing Mahaffie@olatheks.org, or visiting the historic site, 1200 Kansas City Rd., Wednesdays through Saturdays 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. or Sundays noon to 4:00 p.m. The registration deadline is 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 29.