I meant what I said and I said what I meant,
And a governor is rigid one hundred percent!
As state revenues continue to fall, Governor Brownback wields his ax and chops away at the Regents. Almost immediately after the announcement that tax collections came in more than $53 million below expectations, Brownback cut $17 million out of the Regents budget. That’s $17 million that Kansas universities lose over the next four months – the last months of the fiscal year.
In a press conference, Brownback also announced that he would not accept any change in the exemption from income taxes enjoyed by more than 330,000 Kansas businesses. The Governor continues to say his reckless tax cuts are helping Kansas grow despite revenues that have declined in nearly every month since the cuts took effect.
To make ends meet, the state has taken millions out of the highway fund, swept fees from fee-funded agencies, and sold bonds to find money. The budget passed by the legislature recently even gives the Governor permission to delay payments to KPERS in an effort to make the budget balance on paper.
No plans have yet been revealed as to how the legislature is intending to balance the budget but one assumes the Governor will go ahead with the delay to KPERS, the legislature will dive as deeply as possible into the Alvarez and Marsal Efficiency Report, and cuts will be made to agencies. There are already whispers under the dome about possible cuts to education. Education, after all, is the largest portion of the budget.
With the Governor continuing to insist that there will be no changes to his tax plans, we are left wondering if a show-down might be in the future. The Governor is not up for re-election and in fact cannot run for governor again but every Senator and Representative will be on the campaign trail as soon as the session ends. Brownback’s approval ratings are at historic lows. It will be interesting to see if more legislators will be willing to distance themselves from his policies just before hitting the campaign trail.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
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