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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Kansas Republicans in Topeka Have Their Priorities Set

kansas, state capitol, topeka, sundown

Indeed, those Kansas Republicans over in Topeka, from the Governor all through the state capitol, surely have their priorities set. In stone.

Years ago now, they cut taxes for the already-wealthy and corporations, raised them on the middle- and lower- and so, working-classes and set about just the chain of events they wanted. They were sure it would produce grand, paying results for the state. So the economists said they'd be wrong! So what?

Turns out, as we've found, as the same economists predicted, the economists were, in fact, correct and those same Right Wing legislators were dead wrong. Colossally, fiscally wrong:

Kansas faces nearly $120 million shortfall 

for fiscal year

Gov. Sam Brownback will pull money from the state’s highway fund and other sources after state economists projected a $118 million budget shortfall Friday.

Even after those adjustments, the state is projected to have a cash balance of $5.6 million at the end of June and to face a shortfall of $175.6 million for 2017, the economists said.

Asked whether the state is in the red, Budget Director Shawn Sullivan replied: “Depends on what you look at. We’re basically at zero right now, so yes.”

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said the Legislature would start the 2016 session “basically where we were at the beginning of the 2015 session,” facing the question of how to right the state’s finances.

Lawmakers ended a record-long session in June by increasing sales taxes to cover a budget deficit caused in large part by income tax cuts...

...The latest shortfall comes after sales tax revenue fell short of projections. The state’s economists lowered the estimate for sales tax revenue by $91 million for the year while lowering the estimate for overall revenue by $159 million.

As for just a glimmer of what this means for Kansas, the article goes on:

Brownback will make a combination of budget cuts and funding sweeps to balance the budget.

He will take $50 million from the Kansas Department of Transportation. Sullivan said this would not affect previously announced highway projects.

He also will take $9 million from the Children’s Initiative Fund, which goes to support early childhood programs such as Early Head Start.

Sullivan said this would not affect the programs’ funding for this year. But the advocacy group Kansas Action for Children said that this would affect long-term funding for children’s programs, which have been cut in recent years...

...Brownback will also sweep $5 million from the Kansas Bioscience Authority, a quasi-governmental agency meant to spur investment in the biotech sector. The Eagle reported in July that the KBA was already on the brink of collapse and halting new investment in the face of reduced state funding.

As for Kansas schools, you might ask?

The governor made no cuts to education, but Scott Rothschild, spokesman for the Kansas Association of School Boards, said that the budget news was still a cause for concern for schools.

“The future doesn’t look good. We’re going to have to keep our eye on this,” he said. “Obviously, we have tax cuts that were implemented that have put us in a perpetual budget crisis.”

Then there's this budget cut:

An advocacy group says a budget adjustment that took $9 million from Kansas’ Children’s Initiatives Fund will mean a cut in money promised to 20 children’s programs.

The Kansas City Star reports a review by Kansas Action for Children says the budget adjustment will cost early childhood grant programs about 6.5 percent in funding for fiscal year 2016 and about 3 percent in fiscal year 2017.

Stealing from children. And the poor. Nice, huh? Real Christians, those, eh?

But did they take care of themselves? Did the Republican legislators over there in Topeka make sure they, themselves were taken care of? Why don't be silly! OF COURSE they did!

Kansas legislators get 8.5 percent raise 

in allowance

Check out this wonderful stuff:

Kansas lawmakers quietly and automatically got an 8.5 percent raise in their allowance last month.

The raise is because of an escalator clause in state law that has increased lawmakers’ daily “subsistence payments” by more than 28 percent through the past seven years of fiscal woes, employee pay freezes and cuts in other government departments.

The payments, also known as per diem, are the set amount lawmakers get to pay their living expenses each day they work in Topeka.

As of Oct. 1, it’s $140 a day, up from $129.

The per diem payments are actually about 45 percent more than legislators earn in salary, and the money is theirs to keep and spend however they want.

For the legislators, those automatic raises in per diem essentially represent an increase in their compensation, without them having to make the politically difficult floor vote to raise their salaries.

Read more here:

So first, they got a pay raise. 

Second, it's automatic. They don't have to have a messy---and possibly reported on---vote about it.

Third and finally, whatever they don't spend, they get to keep. Not like in the business sector, which these people say they like to emulate. If they don't spend it, they get to stash it.

Can you imagine getting $140 per day from your boss for "expenses", on top of your pay? Wouldn't that be a sweet deal? You think you wouldn't "brown bag" it to work or eat on the cheap so you could keep that for yourself?

Don'tcha just love government representatives like these?

Don'tcha just love "small government", Right Wing, Republican legislators who always harp how they're "for the people" and low spending?

Don'tcha just love Kansans who vote for these people?

Doesn't it make you want to move and live there?

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