Thanks to the pending school-finance ruling, about the only thing certain about the 2014 legislative session is that it will open Monday. Overall, Kansans can hope that the Legislature will keep the offenses to a minimum as it defends the historic income-tax cuts, which promise to put more and more pressure on the state’s budget.
Gov. Sam Brownback will be able to tout some fiscal success Wednesday in his State of the State address from the finally refurbished Capitol, including a healthy ending balance and improving employment numbers.
But how the legislative session goes will depend a lot on how the Kansas Supreme Court rules. The court may side with school districts and second a three-judge panel’s order that the Legislature “begin to effect a cure to the constitutional deficiencies” by increasing base state aid from the current $3,838 per student to $4,492, costing at least $440 million a year.
If so, that will surprise no one. And if lawmakers make good on threats to ignore the high court, they could set off a constitutional crisis.
While we await the court’s decision, here are some dos and don’ts for the rest of the session:
One other thing besides the court’s decision will guide nearly every move made this session: the fact that it’s an election year.