The huge tax hikes, fund raids and spending cuts proposed in Gov. Sam Brownback’s two-year budget at least demonstrate a belated acknowledgment by the administration that the state’s fiscal situation is serious and deteriorating, with a nearly $1 billion total shortfall to address over the 2015 and 2016 fiscal years. But denial lives elsewhere at the Statehouse, at least regarding the current-year budget cuts the Legislature is working on this week. “This is not unusual. Nothing to see here. Nothing to see here,” Rep. Steve Brunk, R-Wichita, told the Topeka Capital-Journal, likening the midyear fixes to the fiscal maneuvers of Democratic Govs. Kathleen Sebelius and Mark Parkinson. As for whether the fiscal challenges in this session should be interpreted as a rebuke of the 2012-13 tax reforms, Rep. Gene Suellentrop, R-Wichita, said: “This is just a temporary blip in the cash flow.” – Rhonda Holman
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