Following is a press release from Kansas House Member Frank Miller, Republican from Independence. I think he assesses the situation accurately.
Supreme Court School Finance Decision
Press Release 6/6/2005
Kansas Supreme Court By-Passes Voters Right to Representation
I am shocked and very alarmed that the Kansas Supreme Court by a unanimous decision would so boldly by-pass the authority of the legislature and directly appropriate funding for governmental functions. This is just another step in the dangerous abrogation of the Constitution and a further increase in the activism of our courts. Meaning â€“ our courts across the Nation are taking over the role of the legislature, i.e. making laws and ordering government spending. The Kansas Supreme Court judges are appointed by the governor and are not elected officials. Legislators are elected by the people and the constitution places the responsibility of appropriating funding for all functions of the Government with the Legislature.
I am not a lawyer, but have read enough of the US and Kansas Constitutions to believe that the Supreme Court has stepped way beyond its powers when it mandates the Kansas Legislature to increase spending and taxes as they are now ordering. The Court order states â€œWe (the Kansas Supreme Court) further conclude, after careful consideration, that at least one-third of the $853 million amount reported to the Board in July of 2002 (A&M [Augenblick & Myers] studyâ€™s cost adjusted for inflation) shall be funded for the 2005-06 school yearâ€. One third of $853 million is $285 million. The legislature has already appropriated an increase in spending of $142 million (largest single year increase since 1992) for the school year 2005-06, but did not increase any taxes. Thus to comply with the courtâ€™s order we must add another $143 million to our latest budget amount by July 1, 2005! The Court further states that the legislature must appropriate the full amount of $853 million for the school year 2006-2007. We must recognize that this is Kansas Supreme Court ACTIVISM AT ITS WORST!
Bear in mind an increase in the current budget of an additional $143 million (142+143 = $285 million) may require a per capita annual increase in taxes for a family of four of approximately $208! Next year the minimum increase will be a whopping $853 million resulting in an additional per capita annual increase in taxes for a family of four of approximately $1240! However, this increase is contingent on findings and timeliness of a Post Audit study. Total funding for K-12 education has already been increasing two times faster than the inflation rate for the past five years! This latest Supreme Court order if fully implemented will put the State into a â€œSUICIDAL ECONOMIC DIVEâ€!
I strongly urge you to let me know by telephone, letter, or email your answer to the following question: â€œDO YOU THINK THE KANSAS SUPREME COURT HAS MADE A GOOD OR BAD DECISION?â€
To contact Rep. Frank Miller write, telephone, or email to P.O. Box 665, Independence, KS, 67301, Tel: (Home) 620-331-0281; Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or see webpage www.frankmiller.org.