Kansas received a second tobacco settlement payment last week, pushing total collections this year to $58 million – and highlighting why there is no reason for the state to short its Children’s Initiatives Fund. Gov. Sam Brownback wants to withhold $16 million from the fund next fiscal year, claiming that the money is uncertain. But the Kansas Attorney General’s Office completes new estimates each year, and the estimates have never been off by anything close to $16 million. Withholding this amount of money would force deep cuts to programs such as Head Start and for children’s mental health – programs that help put kids on a path to success and that save the state money in the long term. The Senate wisely put that funding back in its budget, and House negotiators agreed before budget negotiations broke down. Brownback, who campaigned in part on helping kids succeed, needs to get behind the funding, too.
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