Daily Archives: April 25, 2013

Huelskamp stars in another rebellion

No surprise that Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, starred in another clash of the House Republicans – or “Fight Club on the Hill,” as the headline of Dana Milbank’s column in the Washington Post dubbed it. Huelskamp and others rebelled this week against an effort by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., to help people with pre-existing health problems get insurance, which Huelskamp dismissed as “expanding Obamacare.” As part of a “Making Life Work” agenda meant to move the party “beyond the fiscal debate,” Cantor also has sought changes to comp and flex time and worker retraining. But he shelved the insurance bill Wednesday. Huelskamp said: “In August, we’re going to hit the debt ceiling and we can’t avoid that. We’re running out of money, and as Republicans, we have to get ready now and talk about the vision of what we have to do to get our country on a 10-year plan to balance the budget,” adding that theme “is the kind of message that gets lost in little things.” Milbank responded: “So helping workers and the sick are ‘little things’? Cantor can forget warm and fuzzy for now; he has enough trouble just making his colleagues sound humane.”

State revenue dropping by $1 billion over two years

The state’s new revenue estimates released last week show the stark budget challenge facing the state – how to cover the loss of nearly $1 billion of revenue over two years, mostly due to the tax cuts signed by Gov. Sam Brownback and the scheduled reduction in the statewide sales-tax rate. Actual revenue receipts in fiscal year 2012 were $6.4 billion. The new revenue estimate for next fiscal year is $5.45 billion. That drop is considerably more than what occurred during the Great Recession, when revenue dropped by $618 million over a three-year period, according to former state budget director Duane Goossen. Federal stimulus money helped offset a significant amount of that drop. Another big difference between then and now: The previous budget problems were triggered by a global economic crisis that was beyond our control; the current shortfall is self-inflicted.

Dole also backing Roberts

Despite being publicly rebuffed by Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., on a December vote on the United Nations treaty on the rights of the disabled, former Sen. Bob Dole (in photo) endorsed Roberts’ re-election bid next year. “No one fights harder or more effectively for the people of Kansas than Pat Roberts,” Dole said in a statement Wednesday. “He never stops working for our values and our concerns.” Roberts also has been endorsed by the state’s four members of the U.S. House as well as five statewide officeholders.