Written by Bob Brookens Tuesday, 27 January 2009 14:18Let me set up the dilemma facing the Kansas Legislature.
Kansas is a cash-basis state and cannot constitutionally spend in the red. Period. The end of the current fiscal year (or spending year) is June 30 and we must right the ship by then.
When Gov. Kathleen Sebelius presented her budget modifications Jan. 13, Kansas had about a $220 million problem. If receipts from taxes are slow in January through June, the $220 million grows.
We have massive cuts to make to balance the current budget, and then we work on a new budget for the next spending year, which starts July 1.
In practice, the Legislature cuts a broad department budget; the executive branch determines what piece of its programs and employees get cut, but the...
Written by Bob Brookens Tuesday, 20 January 2009 14:01The 2009 legislative session officially began at 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 12. It was a brief session on the floor as we were officially sworn in; we then listened to remarks from House leadership.
On Monday night, the governor presented her State of the State Address in the House Chamber. In her speech she said that she would not raise taxes, and that was essentially all Gov. Kathleen Sebelius had to say about the budget.
The following day she released her budget recommendations—which included what could end up to be a local tax increase by up to $142.7 million.
She intends to suspend fund transfers (payments from the state accounts) to the cities and counties of Kansas, which forces counties and cities to come up with that money from...
Written by Bob Brookens Tuesday, 13 January 2009 14:16The legislative process is starting and by the time you read this, I will have headed for Topeka and will have been sworn in Jan. 12.
I hope to keep you informed on the issues in front of the legislature, and therefore will try writing a weekly or biweekly column. I can’t promise a column every week; time will tell.
I’m a first-year legislator and know it is likely to be a mammoth process in a year with truly mammoth issues in front of us.
The economic crunch, the issue of a new coal-fired power plant at Holcomb, and a host of other matters loom big for this session.
I’m also told the legislative leaders want to tackle the current year’s budget shortfall within the first two weeks of the legislative session.
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