It’s been a bang-up few weeks in the Kansas Legislature.
If you’re hearing the music that typically accompanies a circus, you’re not alone.
Politicians have apparently gone a little wonky in Topeka.
In the last few weeks, legislators have proposed bills to eliminate public notices in newspapers, suggested increasing gas taxes, sales taxes and a tax on electronic cigarettes; ending or limiting no-fault divorce, and adding incentives for non-drinking, stay-at-home foster parents.
While some of the proposals are reasonable, sound and necessary – like moving municipal elections to the fall – the proposals garnering the most headlines are head slappers. They make Kansas’ political scene look like a three-ring circus.
There is actually some value in considering what sounds like crazy ideas occasionally – sometimes a committee hearing on the nuttiest topic can garner great solutions to common problems. However, we would argue now isn’t the time to focus on the side shows.
This legislative session should all take place in the center ring. This year’s headline should be the budget and nothing but.
Now that the legislature adopts a two-year budget, legislators should be concentrating on nothing but filling a gaping budget hole. In our mind, that means focusing on creating efficiencies and making spending cuts.
Instead, when the legislators think about the budget, they’re dreaming up new ways to take money out of Kansas’ wallets. It’s a disappointment.