Written by Bob Brookens Tuesday, 19 May 2009 14:48I have enjoyed keeping you informed during this legislative session. I hope you found the column to be helpful.
It has not been my goal to win you over—although that would be fine—but that you think about these matters, no matter which side you land on.
I hope you will ponder the issues. There will be many 30-second TV spots you’ll see, as well as post cards you’ll receive, with half-truths and misinformation. My goal is that you not simply take and believe what you’re spoon-fed, like lambs to the slaughter.
I encourage you to dig deeper and ask questions: Why am I being told this? What is the messenger’s real motive? Is there more to this subject than what the messenger is telling me?
If you want more information on a...
Written by Bob Brookens Tuesday, 12 May 2009 13:30We finished the wrap-up session at about 3 a.m. Saturday. We passed out a budget (spending plan) that balances on paper, with no tax increases required.
We Republicans in the House of Representatives had difficulty agreeing on a budget plan of our own, and I proposed a compromise that appeared to gain momentum on Thursday—the last realistic day available to pass a House budget. It went nowhere.
Instead, having passed no House plan, I voted to adopt the Senate budget plan which cuts state agencies and education (K-12 and higher education) 2.75 percent, but left $71 million to be raised through a separate revenue bill.
The Senate budget has many good features, but it has flaws—all budgets are flawed in some way—most notably...
Written by Bob Brookens Tuesday, 05 May 2009 13:56We just finished what was to have been the one and only week of the wrap-up session. I predict we’ll wind it up, perhaps in the wee hours of Mother’s Day Sunday; I hope not that late.
We have no budget reconciliation bill, and we need one. The revenue estimates are low—way low.
Last week Gov. Sebelius was appointed U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. That led to Mark Parkinson being sworn in as our new governor. One of the week’s highlights was Parkinson’s address to the joint session of the House and Senate on Thursday. I suggest you find his speech online and watch it, or write me. I can send you a copy.
If you get a phone call card saying I want to raise taxes, please remember that’s not true. I oppose...
Written by Bob Brookens Tuesday, 21 April 2009 13:33Next week, the legislature will reconvene for the wrap-up session—also referred to as the omnibus session or veto session. The one looming aspect for wrapping up—and revamping—will be the budget.
In my first columns, I talked a lot about the budget, and it is still the biggest issue of the day. The consensus revenue reports came in last Friday, and we now know that revenue receipts received by April 15—our taxes coming in—are down about $350 million more than previously predicted in November, and it appears we will have less than a $20 million cushion to start the new fiscal year in July.
The governor planned on substantially more than that. We have to find $330 million in new money (translate that to “raised taxes”)...
Written by Bob Brookens Tuesday, 14 April 2009 13:57You may recall I have mentioned the many and frequent statistics and other information we receive in legislative committee hearings, making it difficult to comprehend them all.
For instance, it was surprising to learn that more than 7,000 people are injured or killed every year on Kansas roads because of crashes involving a teen driver.
We had the opportunity to combat these numbers by modifying our state’s driver’s licensing system. States that have already implemented similar updates have seen their number of teen crashes cut in half.
We had legislators’ children lobbying their parents to leave the law alone, but the testimony in support of these changes was overwhelming, and the bill (HB 2143) passed by a huge margin.
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