Politics & Government

Kansas Senate adopts pay-go philosophy for budget debates

Senate Republicans changed the way lawmakers debate state spending Wednesday.

Lawmakers will no longer be able to increase spending during final budget debates without providing a corresponding budget cut, known inside the Capitol as the “pay-go” rule.

Republicans approved a similar rule in the House last year.

Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, said the move is largely intended to stop senators from proposing spending increases and then attacking anyone who opposes the move during campaign season.

“We’re trying to cut down on the gotcha amendments and really focus on our priorities,” she said.

Out-numbered Democrats and a few Republicans fought the idea, but it passed on a 28-11 vote.

Sedgwick Republican Sen. Carolyn McGinn said she understands the need to prioritize, but that the idea could make responsible adjustments to the budget more difficult.

“The sad thing is when you’re talking about $5, $10, $20 million (in budget changes),and you’re just doing it on the fly on the floor to meet a pay-go requirement, there’s not much thought to what it does to those agencies we’re taking the money from,” she said.