More of the same

The deconstruction Kansas marches on with the latest shortfall in state revenue—and the Brownback Admini­stration’s plan to address the problem by cutting $57.3 million more from the state’s public schools, additional millions from the state’s university system, $185 million more from our highway system, and deferring as long as possible the state’s payment to the public pension fund.

In the wake of this news comes an analysis released this week by the Kansas Associ­ation of School Boards that funding to operate our schools has an even more subtle enemy: inflation. According to the KASB, school funding to pay for operating costs has increased 6.8 percent over the past five years—but during that same time period, the consumer price index increased 7.3 percent, public-school enrollment increased 1.2 percent and $63 million of the increased local option budget aid was used for property-tax reductions, not additional school spending. Cutting another $57.3 million from our schools would reduce funding by $124 per pupil or 1.4 percent of total state aid per pupil.

Time has run out on the governor’s grand experiment. His 2012 tax reform has allowed 331,000 tax filers to pay no state income tax on their pass-through business income. The grand result? Zero job-growth in Kansas over the past year.

Our state legislators, and the voters who support them, need to act boldly in the light of our deteriorating future. —DR

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