I had a pleasant surprise when I ran into the 4th grade class from Pratt-Skyline who were visiting the Capitol. See if you recognize any of the kids!
Veto Session's 1st week started out slow and now that we are finishing the 2nd week, things are not moving any better. There is a lot of talk about tax law changes but without a school finance plan to meet the Supreme Court's demands, we don't know how much spending we can anticipate. Yet no one wants to pass a school finance plan without knowing how much money is available. It's a chicken and the egg - which comes first? Meanwhile, we move closer to the 90th Legislative Day and closer to the Court deadline to fix school finance.
The Senate did debate a 3-tier income tax plan on Wednesday that raised less money than the tax plan vetoed by the governor (and arguably didn't raise enough to fund a new school finance plan). Senators rejected that plan but meanwhile we in the House had waited around hoping to vote on the Tax Plan if passed out of the Senate. I fear that this gridlock now could extend the Session many days.
Regarding the School Finance Plan re-write, as I mentioned it is also moving slowly. I expected it to come out of Committee early last week. That was not the case. The K-12 Budget Committee continues to amend and revise the Bill. At this point in time, I am sure it would be best to pass a School Finance Bill before returning to work on a Revenue Plan. I'm just not sure that legislative leadership is ready to do that. I fear that some in Topeka want to drag things out a few weeks so that legislators are weary and vote for a less-than-preferable tax and school finance plan in the dark of night. However, I also believe that many legislators (especially the Freshmen) are tired of politics-as-usual and won't cave to such antics.
I want to wish all the Mothers out there a very "Happy Mother's Day" and to all, a great weekend. I again thank you for all of the thoughts & prayers.
Representative Greg Lewis