Opinion Columns & Blogs

Is new state budget constitutional?


Article 11, Section 4 of the Kansas Constitution requires the Legislature to provide “for raising sufficient revenue to defray the current expenses of the state for two years.” But the budget the Legislature approved early Monday spends more money than it expects in revenue, and it relies on Gov. Sam Brownback to make nearly $100 million in unspecified budget cuts. When asked Tuesday whether he thought the budget was constitutional, Gov. Sam Brownback responded: “We haven’t done our full analysis, so I don’t have a good answer for you yet.” Attorney General Derek Schmidt noted earlier this year that, contrary to popular belief, the constitution doesn’t require the state to have a balanced budget, only that it make suitable provision for paying all of the state’s bills by the end of the fiscal year. “Adjusting funds or even issuing bonds could be suitable provision,” Schmidt said. – Phillip Brownlee