The Wichita-area wish list for state funding fared well during the legislative session. That was because of the advocacy of key players including Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairwoman Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, but also because there was money to go around for a change. Yet Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed a key appropriation as he signed the budget Friday, denying the Equus Beds recharge project $500,000 in addition to his recommendation of $500,000. He did so because, according to his veto message, the use of lottery proceeds “will have to be leveraged as part of a specific debt reduction and budget balancing strategy.” A total $1.1 million had been recommended by the Kansas Water Authority, and the House Appropriations Committee had voted unanimously to tap lottery money to support the project. Especially with Wichita water users enduring steep rate hikes in part to pay for the $250 million-plus recharge project, it’s frustrating that Brownback would stand in the way of increasing state support for such an important investment in the region’s future water supply.
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