Budget deal – Talk about a bunch of spineless jellyfish. The Legislature adjourned for the year after passing a budget before dawn May 2 that abdicates responsibility for making tough decisions in state government. Come election time, Kansans should remember how their lawmakers voted on the state’s financial future.
When Gov. Sam Brownback essentially tells GOP lawmakers to “pass an irresponsible state budget that harms public services for Kansans,” too many have offered a ready-made feeble response the last four years. Sure enough. Right away. It happened again under the cover of darkness May 2, as the House (1:05 a.m.) and Senate (3:18 a.m.) approved an unbalanced budget.
The big picture is that the archconservatives who control both houses of the Legislature could not govern and left their mess for another archconservative to try to clean up. When he gets through, it will all likely be an even bigger mess.
Legislators have continued to borrow from the future, postpone payments that will cost more when due, transfer dollars intended for other uses, and issue bonds based on the same faulty projections. Paying today’s expenses with tomorrow’s income is a precursor to bankruptcy.
During the 2016 session, many legislators were quick to blame the governor’s policies for the state’s financial problems. It’s true that Brownback led the tax-cutting charge, but legislators had to approve the cuts before the governor could sign them into law.
The next opportunity for a change of financial direction comes in the primary elections Aug. 2. Perhaps Kansas voters can make their disappointment in their lawmakers clear.
Refugees – Gov. Sam Brownback’s recent decision to pull Kansas out of the federal refugee relocation program was an empty gesture masquerading as a responsible decision. His unwillingness to support incoming refugees won’t prevent them from arriving in Kansas; it will only make a few imperiled families feel unwelcome in their new home and will dump the state’s responsibilities onto its citizens.