This afternoon the Kansas House of Representatives is debating its replacement budget. The legislation being considered is known as the “Feuerborn amendment.” At 417 pages, it has been divided into 13 sections, with part “A” being the language that “guts” the existing bill. (Click here to view this amendment.)
On Tuesday the budget advanced by the House Appropriations Committee failed to pass the entire House. The Feuerborn amendment is being promoted by House Democrats as a “bipartisan” budget. This refers to the fact that a coalition of Democrats and Republicans — the Republicans being referred to by one publication as “left-wing Republicans” — will likely band together to pass a budget that increases spending and requires tax increases to pay for it.
In the debate over part A, Representative Bill Feuerborn, a Garnett Democrat and Ranking Member of the House Appropriation Committee insisted that Kansas agencies have “already cut to the bone” and are now “into the bone.” In about two hours of back and forth, Overland Park Republican and Appropriations Chair Kevin Yoder and Feuerborn discussed specific aspects of the amendment.
In closing his remarks, Yoder said that this 417 page amendment makes huge decisions about spending without the level of input and deliberation that the budget decision deserves.
Representative Kasha Kelly, an Arkansas City Republican, said that tax increases that will be necessary to fund the spending in the amendment will be harmful to the Kansas economy. Instead of looking at asset sales, she said we’ve adopted a “hoarding mentality,” with the state wanting to keep what it owns, but demanding that citizens send what’s theirs to the state.
She said that the state is not being creative in looking for alternatives to tax increases, and is too eager to impose a job-killing tax increase on Kansans.
Wichita Republican Phil Hermanson said he was disappointed at the cuts to veterans in the Feuerborn amendment.
House Education Budget Committee Chairman Joe McLeland, a Republican from Wichita, said that we need to consider the taxpayers of Kansas and not place an extra burden on them. He said that his committee found ways to help K-12 education come up with money to cover the federal stimulus dollars that will be ending.
He also said that the state has chosen to pay school districts late, and his committee had a provision that requires the state to pay schools on time.
At 5:13 pm the House adjourned until 9:00 am tomorrow so that members may attend a funeral of a member’s mother.