EDITORIAL

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
Nobody likes to pay higher taxes, but we believe the Kansas Legislature did the right thing by passing its 11th-hour $253 million tax-increase legislation rather than making significant cuts in public programs, including education.

Unfortunately, it seems we are not out of the woods quite yet. The Salina Journal reported Saturday that state revenues for May were lower than projected. If that trend continues, those lower revenues will wipe out the $20 raise in the base budget that was recommended by Gov. Bill Graves for his “enhancement budget” and approved by the Legislature. HB 2030 raised the base to $3,890 for the 2002-03 school year.

But if state revenues fall short, that increase could be eliminated, and the base even further reduced below the past year’s level. This means school districts will have to adopt a budget without knowing whether it will actually be funded.

We’re confident our school boards are up to the task, even if some belt-tightening is necessary down the road.

Meanwhile, our state is at the low end of a tough economic cycle. We accept the Legislature’s tax increase now because we know these are unusual times, but we also trust that the cycle will eventually return us to a more prosperous level. When that happens, our lawmakers should responsibly reduce the emergency tax increases they passed this year. -DR

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