Did Kansas Governor Order Budget Cuts Last Year?

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.

2 Comments

  • Bob,

    What are you talking about? Are you and I really going to continue over this disagreement over whether she “ordered” cuts or may be she “directed” cuts. The point is she cut state agency budgets in the current fiscal year. We can argue whether the cuts were deep enough, but the point is she made cuts. Are you that partisan you cannot admit she made these cuts?

    I know you won’t admit you are wrong on this so I will say it for you. Bob, you are wrong, just admit it. Heck, we’ve all been wrong before. I know I have, just not on this one. Below is a link to an article from CJ. I’ll quote one part of the article and you can read the rest.

    “The Senate’s rewriting of the 2009 budget leaves in place the 3 percent targeted reductions previously ordered by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.”

    Bob, just so you don’t get confused any further…”reductions” means cuts.”

    http://cjonline.com/stories/012909/sta_382625144.shtml

  • Legend, I spoke to the reporter who wrote the story you refer to, and he assured me that the governor did not order the cuts you allege she did.

    If the cuts had been made last summer, there would probably be little need for such drastic cuts now.

    The fact is that the governor has taken the easiest road possible for her, using figures (the November consensus revenue estimates) that, while fulfilling her legal requirement, were so out-of-date as to be meaningless. Dangerously so. She’s leaving the heavy work to be done by the legislature.

    Earlier you said you would furnish us a report about the purported cuts. The article you cite above was published after you made this promise.

    I would ask that you refrain from making this a personal issue. When you tell me that you “know” what I’ll admit or not, that is personal, and will not be tolerated here.

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