Kansas Senator Chris Steineger (Democrat from Kansas City) has formulated a list of items that he says could lead to “fast, achievable savings” for the state of Kansas. This list is titled the “$100 million list.” Some of the items have cost savings given, and some don’t.
In particular, the idea of selling state-owned office buildings is appealing. Steineger showed me preliminary research that showed that the “rent” the state charges agencies is more expensive than private office space in downtown Topeka. The revenue from selling the buildings is a one-time boost, but the reduced operating expense is ongoing.
Here’s Steineger’s list:
- Sell and lease-back of State office buildings: Docking, Landon, Eisenhower, Curtis, and Dillon House could be sold to professional real estate companies who can perform renovations
cheaper and faster than the State. Sale and lease back offers four advantages:
- immediate cash payment for buildings;
- any remodeling can be done by private owner FASTER and CHEAPER than the State;
- most office buildings in USA are privately owned; and
- sale could generate $100 million.
- Eliminate $5 million state-subsidy for air fares in Wichita. Let free market work!
- Eliminate State purchases of water rights in government owned reservoirs.
- Eliminate construction of more “weather monitoring” stations.
- Eliminate state owned buffalo herds. ($50,000)
- Eliminate state aid to cities and counties which will incentivize unification.
- Eliminate transfer of state alcohol tax to cities’ general fund and recreation fund. ($18 million)
- Eliminate all future state aid for school bond and interest and technology.
- Reduce Leadership pay by one-half for one year & limit voucher days to 12. ($100,000)
- Eliminate Leadership office budget surplus carryover.
- Reduce by one-half the Leadership Office budget for one year. ($710,000)
- Reduce Leadership mail franking to same as rank and file legislator.
- Reduce funding for Kansas Bio-Science Authority.
- Reduce by one-half funding for KU Cancer Center and order Legislative Post Audit of expenditures since inception.
- Renegotiate State building and property insurance for lower rates.
- Consolidate all functions of probation and parole in Kansas. A computer tracking system currently in the design stage will greatly facilitate such an efficiency merger.
- Consolidate all regulatory and licensing functions of racing, gaming, and bingo.
- Consolidate and simplify all alcohol regulation, including cereal malt beverage.
- Consolidate into the Department of Agriculture: Livestock Commission, Conservation Commission, Water Office, and Geological Survey. A 2007 Post Audit concludes this will save $700,000 year: www.kslegislature.org/postaudit/audits perform/Q8pa23.pdf.
- Consolidate into one agency: Bank Commission, Credit Union Office, and Securities Commissioner. A 2008 Post Audit concludes this will save $500,000 year: www.kslegislature.org/postaudit/audits perform/08pa22.pdf.
- Go another step further and consolidate all of the above with Insurance Dept. and create one, streamlined financial regulatory agency.
- Consolidate all state housing programs into Kansas Housing Resources Corporation.
- Consolidate all early childhood programs (Tiny-K, Head Start, Early Head Start, Parents as Teachers, Smart Start, Healthy Start, Kansas Preschool Program) at State Board of Education.
- Consolidate KTEC, MAMTC, KS Inc, per Post Audit.
- Consolidate Kansas Turnpike Authority and KDOT.
- Capitol restoration — exempt from sales tax. ($8 million)
- Capitol restoration — delay build out of basement level visitors’ center. Install doors and lights only to make it a minimally functional space. It would be like an unfinished basement under someone’s home: dry, lighted and usable, but bare concrete.
- Auction Governor’s silver Chevy Suburban, which is parked in lower level of parking garage and seldom driven. ($25,000)
- Increase premiums and co-pays for state employee health insurance AND create large discounts for those who choose healthy living habits such as tobacco avoidance, healthy weight, and annual checkups.
- Allow Kansas Department of Corrections to pay hospitals at Medicaid rates.
- Obtain fair market value of the state owned business known as KU Hospital. If the Legislature is a board of directors for the state, then we have a fiduciary duty to have some idea of what our assets are worth.