Budget cuts – Gov. Sam Brownback and his team are taking the first steps to prepare for financial Armageddon and a bleaker future for Kansas. At least they’re coming to grips with the reality that the income-tax cuts passed by the Legislature and signed into law earlier this year are going to create significant budget problems. Brownback’s budget team recently told state agencies to show how they could cut 10 percent out of their requests for funding in 2013. Budget Director Steve Anderson said Kansas needed to “require prioritization of programs, consolidation of resources and consideration of alternatives to current organizational structures, funding streams and outdated ways of doing business.” Let us translate: It’s time to slash and burn because Kansas soon could run out of money.
The governor’s administration is spinning the anticipated shortfall as being largely due to forces beyond its control – a stagnant national economy and the European financial crisis, as a recent Associated Press story reported. Certainly the national economy affects what happens in this state. But the tax cuts enacted last year were precipitous and flew in the face of sound, long-term governance.
Kansas Main Street volunteers statewide were in disbelief as Gov. Sam Brownback and Commerce Secretary Pat George abruptly cut the downtown development program. Business-minded legislators should reverse the action next session. In the meantime, Marysville Main Street and other local affiliates will remain active and seek to keep Kansas involved in a program reaping big benefits for small businesses and rural downtowns.