October 20, 2014

Legislators approve contentious budget

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com
Next year’s budget was the lesser of evils, according to Sen. Julia Lynn and Reps. Willie Dove and Bill Sutton. Dove represents Gardner Lake, and Sutton represents most of Gardner and Edgerton in the Kansas House. Lynn represents the northern part of Gardner in the Kansas Senate.
The Kansas Legislature passed a 2014 budget that includes an almost $6 billion general fund budget and a tax plan that set sales tax rates at 6.15 percent beginning July 1.
“I think it’s probably the best we could get under the circumstances,” Lynn said.
The sales tax rate, currently at 6.3 percent, was to sunset to 5.7 percent at the end of this month, but legislators agreed to set the rate at 6.15 percent instead.
Legislators wrangled over the budget for hours during the waning hours of the session that stretched to 99 days. House members proposed budgets that allowed the full sunset to occur, while Senate budgets maintained the full 6.3 percent tax rate. In the early morning hours of the final day, legislators approved next year’s budget.
Dove is not happy with the budget and tax plan, though he voted for both. He said previous legislators promised to sunset the tax rate, and he wanted to keep that promise.
“It’s not been nice,” Dove said. “You want to keep your word to people. When you say something, you want to do what you said you’re going to do. When individuals leave an office and make a promise, it comes down to the individuals that are left there. That’s something that needs to stop. It makes us all look bad. I’m really upset with it, but that’s what we were faced with so we made the best of it.”
Sutton also voted for the final budget and tax plan. The budget didn’t cut spending as much as Sutton would have liked, but the final plan cut $104 million than the Gov. Sam Brownback’s original budget.
“Nobody ever gets everything they want in the budget. I think everyone is equally unhappy, which means it was probably successful,” he said.
Lynn is concerned that cuts to higher education may be detrimental, especially to community colleges.
Brownback initially proposed a 2014 budget that didn’t cut higher education funding, however the budget that eventually passed both legislative houses docks funding to the state’s public universities by $18.9 million.
The budget maintained existing levels of funding for public K-12 schools, but cut approximately $5.5 million from the state’s corrections budget.
Lynn said legislators will likely re-examine those cuts next year.
“I think there will be some revisions attempted, obviously next session if not before. I think there are some concerns about the corrections cuts that we need to be corrected,” she said. “I think it’s probably the best we could get under the circumstances.”
Dove said he was disappointed that the budget was debated in the 11th hour.
“We asked for some things in writing and it never happened… (The Senate) wanted us to approve the first two budgets they sent over, and we sent them back and said we’re not going to do it,” Dove said.
He called the process  “sickening. It was not pretty. Tempers flared.”
Next year’s budget sets a cap of 2 percent on how much government spending can grow over the course of a year. Any revenues derived above that cap in future years will be used to buy down state income tax rates.
“We know that cutting taxes will bring in economic growth and it will bolster revenues,” Sutton said. “We wanted to take safeguards that when we get those revenues we don’t just find new and exciting programs to start up and spend that money.”
The cap, however, can be overturned by future legislators.
It’s a promise, like the promise to allow the sales tax to sunset, that Dove said legislators should never have made.
“We got the very best deal that we possibly could for the taxpayer,” he said. “But you should not make promises you are physically unable to keep.”

Comments

  1. Judith Rogers says:

    Well, Brownback and his cronies showed themselves for what they are………liars! And they govern for the thieves rather than the citizens. Clown Sutton proves that he is worthless and also brings about adverse affects for decent citizens across Kansas. Sutton and his appendage (a person in a subordinate or dependent position, especially a servile or parasitic follower), Bill Boillot, pander to the local gun crazies, which they themselves are, and Kansas streets and perhaps our City Halls become more dangerous by the day with open carry, no background checks with purchase of guns allowing many who are mentally ill to buy a gun and our streets could very well become gangland confrontations – legal but pretty lowlife and dangerous for citizens. Prairie Village did the right thing by not allowing open carry in their city and more cities are taking the same steps and more steps to discourage this gun type environment and I give them kudos to stand for decency rather than going along to get along like our city of Gardner and Sheriff Denning did – more examples of worthless, slimy politicians.

    Supreme Court put Kobach where he needs to be with their recent decision on Arizona’s Prop. 200 – may the decent judgements continue and the connivers and manipulators be stopped.

    These comments are my opinions – hope many, many citizens have similiar ones before the state of Kansas loses safety for average citizens and they aren’t put into poverty by cronyism government. Citizens better be finding decent people to run for office who will be an asset for them rather the poison we are and have been constantly dealing with.

  2. Actually the crime index in Gardner has dropped since the implementation of Concealed Carry through the end of 2011.

    2012 Numbers are not posted on the KBI website yet but should be sometime soon.

    Despite the ranting by anti-gunners one only has to look at the facts to draw a conclusion. Gardner has added many conceal carry license holders to it’s population but yet we are without incident. KS has been an open carry state for a long time and Gardner hasn’t had an incident.

    If you want to find the “gang land confrontations” you only have to drive a short distance to KCK and KCO where open carry and guns in general are frowned upon.

  3. Judith Rogers says:

    Same ole propaganda and rhetoric of the NRA………..I have heard it time and time again, however, I am one citizen who does not buy their conniving and manipulation. The extremists continue to be examples of ignorance, fear, intimidation and regression in my opinion. I totally support the families and citizens of Sandy Hook who exhibit intelligence and much common sense but, of course, Kansas is the example of wingnut extremism more and more each day and I feel more uncomfortable by the day knowing the increased numbers of people walking around with guns and how low the legislators went to allow guns into our halls of government unless the cities had an armed policeman or metal detectors in place. I will go for the armed policeman and/or metal detector any day of the week. Red Kansas extremists are creating much, much suffering and in many different ways.

    These comments are my opinions.

  4. KBI Website statistic = Factual numbers

    I’m not sure the NRA has infiltrated the KBI. (yet)

    Fact is that the crime index has dropped so people should feel more comfortable as our city has gotten safer. Sometimes we let our personal opinions get in the way of those pesky facts.

  5. Judith Rogers says:

    IF any crime rate has been lowered, I do not believe it is due to all of the people walking around now with guns as a result of receiving a conceal carry permit. But, of course, all of the extremists and the NRA want to take credit for any lowered crime rate. As I said previously, these extremists are examples of ignorance, fear, intimidation and regression and perhaps even lies if they take credit for something that is not true.

  6. Judith Rogers says:
  7. Judith Rogers says:

    This editorial today in the Star hits the slimy gun issue on the head in many ways especially the portion of: “It’s an idolatrous belief,” he said, “that violence can produce security. On the other hand when guns become idols we can document how their presence transforms the personalities of individuals and entire communities.”

    This community has slid into the low level it is at now for numerous years and will only get worse in the coming years in my opinion.

    http://www.kansascity.com/2013/06/19/4302610/gun-reform-needs-churches.html

    And the saddest part is that I have Council members supporting all of this gun crapola and worshiping the money, power and greed alters of the thieves.

  8. Editorial = One persons very biased opinion.

    Those are usually void of facts. Let us not consider any facts as we plant our emotional, fact free bias to this issue.

    OR

    We could look at the pesky facts and the data. The cities and the states that have the strictest gun laws have the most murders and violence. Detroit, Chicago, DC, Baltimore. Regardless of someone’s anti-gun bias you cannot argue with those facts. Perhaps you can make an excuse but that is about the extent of it.

  9. Judith Rogers says:

    Ignorant cult followers are always ready to eat and drink the propaganda and rhetoric of those who are far from honest and who have no integrity, ethics, character but are certainly well trained in conniving and manipulation with much suffering involved. Know your history to realize this FACT and Nazi Germany is a perfect example.

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