Where would you cut state’s $220 million

Let me set up the dilemma facing the Kansas Legis?lature.

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 legislative dilemma is still the same.

Some folks don?t want bud?gets cut; they are in denial about the problem. We have no choice but to cut spending now. The question for us in Topeka is: What departments do we cut, and how much? Do we cut all budgets across the board? Do we cut some budgets more than others? There is no easy solution from my vantage point.

Budget not the only issue at stake

The 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.