Daily Archives: Jan. 11, 2010

Majority leader’s response to governor’s proposed tax increase

The following is a statement from Majority Leader and Appropriations Vice Chair Ray Merrick regarding the Governor’s State of the State address:

“With the continuing fall of revenues, the Governor’s proposed budget is unconstitutional. In a shameful change of course from when he took office last year*, the Governor has abdicated his duty to the taxpayers of Kansas by refusing to offer a balanced budget and demanding the largest tax increase in Kansas history. As a legislature we cannot in good conscience accept a budget which refuses to offer a solution to the struggling families and businesses of Kansas. Much to my disappointment this budget offers no long term solutions or incentive for job creation in Kansas. Meanwhile, the Governor has requested an INCREASE of 153 FTE positions. These regressive spend and then tax-to-fill-the-hole policies will only further strain our state’s economy.”

“Since this administration has run out of tricks and one-time fee sweeps, it has now resorted to simply refusing to balance the budget responsibly. We hope on further review there are positive recommendations upon which the legislature can move forward to streamline and reduce government spending and growth, but this unbalanced budget demands an answer from the Governor to the Kansas taxpayers. When we should be reducing the size of government, this is the largest budget in our history, with all funds of $14.5 billion.“

*April, 28, 2009 Remarks by Gov. Parkinson when sworn in as Kansas Governor: “no Kansan will have a tax increase”

House Speaker O’Neal delivers response to State of State

Speaker O’Neal

State of the State Response

Delivered 1/7/10

Good evening. I’m Representative Mike O’Neal, Speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives.  Tonight it’s my privilege to offer our perspective on the 2010 legislative session from the standpoint of Republican legislative leadership. While these remarks had to be prepared before receiving the Governor’s budget message, we look forward to an open dialogue and productive working relationship with Gov. Parkinson in his first full legislative session – a session that will be one of the most challenging in Kansas history and one that will require a renewed commitment to do what is best for all Kansans.

If there is one thing all Kansans understand, it is weathering storms.  As long as there has been a Kansas, there have been blizzards, drought, hail, ice, and tornadoes.  All Kansans know what it’s like to survey the wreckage after a storm.  We all know the feeling, some much more than others, of picking up the debris and starting to rebuild.  The unbelievably resilient citizens of this state have weathered countless storms and have always built something better in the aftermath.

The opening of the 2010 legislative session finds Kansas in the throes of a serious financial storm.  We are facing profound challenges from a deep national recession and are struggling to pick up the pieces and chart a course toward recovery. But like so many Kansas storms, we can and will weather this storm together if we are prudent stewards of the resources we have and avoid government-promoted quick fixes that will hamper our long term growth and recovery.

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Proposed 2011 state budget is now online

To read the Kansas state budget proposal for 2011 go to http://budget.ks.gov/gbr.htm.

To help save money, the budget document will only be online this move. By not printing the budget document, the state will save about $15,000, state Budget Director Duane Goossen said.

Gov. Mark Parkinson’s State of the State speech

PARKINSON_MH6

Following is a prepared copy of Gov. Mark Parkinson’s State of the State speech delivered Monday night.

The complete text of Governor Mark Parkinson’s State of the State Address, ‘Protecting What We Have, Building for the Future,’ as prepared for delivery, is as follows:

‘Protecting What We Have, Building for the Future’

“Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, Minority Leaders Hensley and Davis, Mister Chief Justice, legislators, justices, cabinet officers, elected officials, honored guests and my fellow Kansans:

“For almost 150 years, 45 governors have had the honor to report to this body on the state of the state of Kansas. Throughout those 150 years, we have been through many crises. We have gone through booms and busts, two World Wars and faced countless natural disasters. Despite those challenges, every governor for almost 150 years declared that the state of our state was strong.

“They understood that we do not measure the state of our state by the crisis of the day. The true measure of a state is the quality and character of the people living in it. Are they willing to pull together, stare down challenges and provide a helping hand to those in need?

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Legislative leaders agree not to work Fridays to save money

TOPEKA — Republican legislative leaders from the House and Senate announced Monday that neither chamber would work Fridays for the moth of January to save the state money.

The leaders also agreed to propose a 5 percent pay cut for legislators and to rescind the recent increase in legislative subsistence (per diem) pay, taking the daily allowance back from $116 to $109/day for food and lodging, a 6 percent cut. Those changes would have to be approved by the Legislature.

In past years both chambers would typically gavel in, then gavel out on Fridays. Lawmakers would get paid but usually no work was done.

“These calendar changes and cuts in legislative compensation are part of our overall approach to reduce costs at this time of severe stress on the state budget. Legislators want to do their part.” said Senate President Stephen Morris, R-Hugoton.

Lawmakers are paid $88.66 each day they serve in their elected capacity. They also receive a $109 per diem to cover expenses. So during a typical 90-day session, a lawmaker will pull in $17,789.40.

The furlough days – January 15, 22, and 29th – could save the legislative budget up to $141,728.

Exceptions will be made for lawmakers who work on the Senate Ways and Means and House Appropriations committees, which handle budget issues.

“Despite the short three-month duration of the legislative session, we know it’s important to control legislative costs along with other reductions in government spending. Today’s pay reduction proposal for the Legislature is a significant step in that process,” said Speaker of the House Rep. Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson.

Lawmakers will be grappling with an expected shortfall of more than $300 million for the 2011 budget, which starts July 1.

Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat, will unveil his proposed 2011 budget tonight during his first and final State of the State speech at 7 p.m.

2010 Kansas Legislature now in session

TOPEKA – The House and Senate both convened today at about 2 p.m. kicking off the 2010 legislative session.

The House swore in Rep. Barbara Bollier, R-Mission Hills, who is filling the seat vacated by former Rep. Terrie Huntington, R-Fairway, who moved to the Senate after Mission Hills Republican David Wysong stepped down for personal reasons.

The Senate swore in Huntington on Monday as well.

Other new lawmakers, including Wichita Democrat Rep. Melany Barnes and Wichita Republican Rep. Gene Suellentrop had been sworn in previously. Barnes replaces former Rep. Tom Sawyer who moved to the Kansas Parole Board and Suellentrop replaces former Rep. Jason Watkins who is now lobbying for the Wichita Chamber of Commerce.

Mostly the chambers handed house keeping issues, including seating assignments and who would escort dignitaries such as the Governor, Supreme Court justices and Lieutenant Governor at the State of the State speech tonight.

Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat, will deliver his first and final State of the State speech at 7 p.m.

Kansas Public Television Station (KPTS) will provide a live broadcast of the speech from inside the House Chamber. Kansas Public Radio will also air the speech.

For reaction to the governor’s speech and the 2011 budget which will be released this evening, read Thursday’s Wichita Eagle.

Kansas governor to unveil budget, deliver State of State

 TOPEKA — Gov. Mark Parkinson unveils his plan to fix the Kansas budget and delivers his State of the State address today as the 2010 legislative session begins.

The work starts at 2 p.m. when the House and Senate convene. Parkinson, a Democrat, will deliver the State of the State address at 7 p.m. Kansas Public Television will broadcast the speech live.

Unlike previous sessions that featured spirited clashes over gay marriage, abortion or gambling, the 2010 session is shaping up to be one for the bean counters as lawmakers dig for dollars.

Lawmakers last year cut nearly $1 billion in spending, but it wasn’t enough to offset continued declines in state revenue. Now they must close a budget deficit of more than $300 million, and there are two ways to do it: new cuts or new taxes.

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