Posts Tagged ‘budget’

New Hampshire editorial – Democrats haven’t passed a budget since 2009

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

New Hampshire Union Leader:

As President Obama continues to shift the blame for his party’s gross irresponsibility by asserting falsely that House Republicans are putting party before country, the American people should be reminded that the Senate’s refusal to pass a budget is both deliberate and entirely political.

The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call reported last summer that Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., was appointed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to lead the Senate Democrats’ messaging operation…

Said a Democratic aide, “He led the fight in the Senate against releasing our budget. He backed the idea that a budget paints a giant target on your back unnecessarily when it’s not going to pass anyway.”

Editorial — Steve Howe and Terry Calaway vs. Everybody else; Hodge on open meetings opinion: “It gives me great confidence in going forward that virtually nobody of significance has agreed with what DA Steve Howe today writes.”

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

On Wednesday, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe made the Kansas Open Meetings Act a meaningless law.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Howe released to former Johnson County Community College Trustee Benjamin Hodge the DA’s official opinion on two Kansas Open Meetings Act violation allegations that Hodge had made toward JCCC.  One of the allegations concerned a serial meetings violation (where a majority of a local goverenment’s elected officials end up communicating about government business, over the course of a series of meetings that each involve a smaller number of politicians), and the other involved the the discussion of general budget-related information during a closed “executive” session.  Two documents:

  1. The April 2009 formal request for review of two allegations of KOMA violations from Benjamin Hodge, former Kansas Representative and JCCC Trustee (PDF).
  2. The official opinion from Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe (PDF),  released Wednesday, July 15, 2009.
The results of the opinion from DA Howe, if it stands:
  • Serial meetings concerning virtually any government-related business MAY occur (and involving a majority of a local government’s elected officials), provided that there is not an agreement to later VOTE in a certain manner.
  • During a closed, in-person meeting involving a majority of the politicians, general discussions on the budget MAY occur, provided that either:
    • 1.  A portion of the closed meeting involves a job evaluation of a specific government employee; or,
    • 2.  If, at least once, only the name of any specific government employee is referenced, in any context.
There are only two options now, for those who wish to require local governments to discuss public business only during meetings that are well-announced and open to the public:
  1. In ruling on behalf of JCCC President Terry Calaway, either DA Steve Howe knows something the rest of us don’t, and virtually everybody else has been incorrect with regard to understanding the current language of the Kansas Open Meetings Act:  The Kansas City Star, The Kansas Press Association, legislators, and nation-wide open meetings expert and attorney Mike Merriam.  If this is the case, then the entire law needs to be re-examined and re-written.
  2. Or, Steve Howe is wrong, and there needs to be a different opinion issued from a higher authority.
Below is an initial reaction that Hodge Emailed Wednesday evening: (more…)

Olathe Rep. Mike Kiegerl’s end-of-session report for Topeka legislative session: ‘The most difficult session in my 5-year tenure’

Monday, May 18th, 2009

From Mike Kiegerl:

After a contentious fight over SB 51, the annexation bill that both chambers passed, the Kansas legislature adjourned Friday morning until the Sine Die session June 4th. We started Thursday 9 am and ended 2:37 am Friday. I got home at 4:30 am and I’m still recovering from the marathon session but I wanted to get my thoughts to you while their still fresh in my tired brain.

This was the most difficult session in my 5 year tenure and, according to old timers, the most difficult ever. Overshadowed by the deep recession and consequent sharp declines in revenue, the budget for fiscal 2009 had to be completely revised and a workable budget for fiscal 2010, which begins July 1, needed to be finished before the 90 day span allocated for each annual session. At times it seemed an impossible task made more complicated by a Governor whose attention was focused on national office and not the needs of the state. Sadly, her contribution to the budgets was limited by what she did not want and there were no practical solutions offered. Therefore the 2009 budget is essentially the version of the House while the 2010 budget is entirely the work product of the Senate. (more…)

Terry Calaway’s ‘absolute power’ actions are ‘frightening’ and ‘bizarre’: Kaw and Border

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Kansas blog Kaw and Border:

Rather than this “above board” approach allowing everyone to cool down and move on, essentially Calaway, with presumably the full cooperation of the majority of the Board of Trustees, has decided to manufacture a crisis over what could have been a simple acknowledged mistake. (more…)

JCCC leadership doesn’t have a clue about open meetings laws; openly refuses to learn

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Just three months ago, by violating the Kansas Open Meetings Act, a majority of the JCCC Board of Trustees — including “experienced” college leaders Shirley Brown-VanArsdale and Lynn Mitchelson — made it clear to the entire Kansas City metro that they had absolutely no understanding of Kansas law.  This week, the majority of board members made it abundantly clear that they have absolutely no interest in ever learning the law.

And a week ago, board Chair Shirley Brown-VanArsdale and JCCC President Terry Calaway, in an article in The Gardner News, unintentionally yet clearly stated that they think that open meetings laws only apply to verbal comments, and not also written and electronic communication.  That is 100% incorrect.  Here is Calaway, in reference to typed budget information that he inappropriately distributed to the JCCC Board during a closed meeting:

“We’re very careful about it, which was why there wasn’t any discussion about this material.”

Read more of Benjamin Hodge’s update on situation at

Kansas House endorses budget; mild cut to schools: Star

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

The Star:

TOPEKA | Shuttered correctional facilities, reductions to universities and state agencies, and small cuts to schools are under consideration as Kansas lawmakers seek to erase a $680 million budget deficit.

The Kansas House Monday endorsed a $13.4 billion budget plan that uses nearly $400 million in federal stimulus money to avoid bigger reductions. Lawmakers warned that the state’s fiscal condition necessitated slashing of spending.

In a sign of just how tough the decisions are, House lawmakers voted to dock their own daily pay by 10 percent. The move may be symbolic if the Senate balks at the pay cut. But House Republicans said there’s nothing symbolic about the pain in the other budget cuts.

“It’s tough to go home and tell your constituents ‘I cut services for the poor. … I cut spending on public safety programs,’ ” said Rep. Kevin Yoder, an Overland Park Republican who leads the House budget committee. “The truth is, this Legislature does not have enough money to fund every priority, and we’re going to have to make reductions.”

Mary Pilcher Cook on the budget

Friday, March 13th, 2009

A legislative update from Sen. Pilcher Cook:

On Thursday, February 12 the House and Senate both passed the conference committee report for the 2009 rescission bill (the fiscal year 2009 budget).  It passed in the House 70 to 51 and in the Senate 27 to 11 with an ending balance of $126.5 million, leaving a mere 2 percent ending balance, but better than before.  It’s a good start on dealing with our financial crisis.

To get there, Republicans worked together — even Johnson County Republicans! (more…)

AP: New estimate for Kan. budget deficit is $682M

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

AP: New estimate for Kan. budget deficit is $682M

TOPEKA, Kansas (AP) – The size of Kansas’ projected budget deficit grows to $682 million for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

It’s the gap that would occur if the state tried to duplicate its current budget during its 2010 fiscal year.

The new figure Friday from legislative researchers is higher because state tax collections fell $14 million short of expectations in February. State officials had anticipated tax revenues of more than $260 million. Instead, Kansas collected less than $247 million.

Meadowlark: Gov. Sebelius to Balance 2010 Kansas Budget using Federal Debt and Federal Taxes

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Kansas Meadowlark:

Why doesn’t Gov. Sebelius tell the whole truth about the “resources available in the Federal Recovery Act”?  Why doesn’t Gov. Sebelius tell the citizens of the state of Kansas the “Stimulus” funds from the Federal Recovery Act will be paid for by higher federal taxes and debt?  State taxes are not going up with her plan, but where does Gov. Sebelius explain that higher federal taxes may result?

Why does Gov. Sebelius care so much for children and education, but is burdening future generations with unimaginable debt?  Why are we stealing from our children and grandchildren because of our irresponsible spending now? (more…)

Video: Steele on Obama’s budget

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Sebelius a drama queen

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

But as reported on this blog (Sebelius’ Proposed Cuts Not Likely Enough, Kansas Governor Not Facing Reality of Budget Crisis) and in other places, this crisis was solely of the Governor’s own making.

Her budget proposal for fiscal year 2009 from January met the legal requirement she faced, but came nowhere near facing the economic reality. Had she proposed a reasonable budget in January, this crisis — such as it was — could have been avoided.

Instead, Governor Sebelius left it to the legislature to come up with a bill that met economic reality. Is that leadership?