Has the Kansas budget already been cut for fiscal year 2009, the budget year ending June 30, 2009?
Some people think so. A commenter to this blog says “the Governor did order these cuts,” referring to cuts made starting last summer.
But is this the case? I asked the governor’s office about this, and they sent a link to a press release from last June. It’s not clear if it refers to actual cuts, or requests to find ways to spend less. It starts like this: “At the State Finance Council meeting today, Governor Kathleen Sebelius announced that she is asking all cabinet agencies to find ways to reduce their upcoming budget by one to two percent.”
(The press release is at www.governor.ks.gov/news/NewsRelease/2008/nr-08-0627b.htm.)
Is this the same as ordering budget cuts? It’s hard to say.
The Associated Press, however, leads us to believe that cuts were never made by state agencies in their 2009 budgets. From their story of November 28, 2008 GOP leaders to Sebelius: order cuts now:
In June, Sebelius informed state agency officials it might be necessary to reduce spending 1 percent to 2 percent in the current fiscal year and to be prepared to trim as much as 5 percent the following year.
After the November election, Sebelius told agencies that planning should reflect a possible 3 percent cut this fiscal year.
Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat, said he didn’t believe it necessary for the Legislature to pass a bill because the governor is “seriously intending” to make cuts in the current budget.
Sebelius spokeswoman Nicole Corcoran said the governor will begin a review next week of recommendations from Cabinet agencies of options for reducing costs. She said Sebelius hasn’t ruled out formal action in the near term.
So did she cut the budget last summer, or didn’t she?
Does “planning for a possible 3 percent cut” mean the same thing as actually spending less? It doesn’t seem so.