Charlotte O’Hara
Guest columnist
Ah, the world according to Topeka. If you can’t adhere to the published budget, you simply come back seven months into the current fiscal year to House Appropriations Committee and request a supplemental budget.
A 2012 Budget was put forth by Gov. Sam Brownback and approved by the Kansas Legislature last year.
Now, a supplemental budget of $60 million has been requested. Most of the increase in spending is due to the usual suspects: An increase in the free and reduced and school lunch count and more caseloads in Medicaid.
This tradition of increasing the budget, seven months into the budget cycle, didn’t just begin this year. The 2011 legislature’s adopted budget was $5.627 billion. There were shortfalls, and the 2011 budget (last year’s) was increased by $48 million to $5.675 billion, most of the funding requests were due to increase in Medicaid caseloads.
Republican leadership’s mantra last year was we (Republican legislators) must vote for the governor’s budget (over a 7 percent increase) and the state budget director, Steve Anderson, assured many legislators (myself included) that as soon as we see your tail lights leaving Topeka, you will not believe the cuts this administration will make to the 2012 budget.
Well, I did not vote for the 2012 budget with the 7 percent plus increase (I was one vote in eight that voted to freeze spending at the 2011 levels), and I can’t seem to find those cuts Budget Director Steve Anderson was advertising during the 2011 session.
Instead of cuts, the legislature faces a request from the Brownback Administration for an additional $60 million to finish the 2012 budget.
Am I missing something here? With the supplemental request, our 2012 budget will be an 8 percent increase over the 2011 budget. Naturally, when the suggestion is made to cut the spending in another category or my suggestion to make across the board cuts of 1 percent (that’s right just one penny for every dollar budgeted), hue and cries reverberate throughout the Capitol of, “We can’t do that!”
What are we being told, instead? Just get out there good Kansas taxpayers, make more money and send those additional tax dollars to Topeka.
We need more of your hard earned income because we just can’t cut our habitual tax-and-spend habits.
Charlotte O’Hara represents the 27th District, which includes part of USD 230,  in the Kansas House or Representatives.