While the 2016 legislative session came to a close early this morning (3:30am), we will leave town with many things undone.
First off, Tax Votes on Late Friday Night:
Some Topeka politicians who created the budget disaster we have today by voting back in 2012 to repeal income taxes are now hearing from their constituents. And what they are hearing is not good. These politicians are afraid of losing their re-election. They cooked up a so-called plan to fix their own mess and increase income taxes on only a small portion of business income. I refuse to play these political games, so I voted no
. We must have real revenue reform
. These political games should disgust any Kansan.
You will hear some republicans claim that the proposal would save schools, roads and other important programs from further cuts. That is simply not true. The proposal brought forward would not fix our budget. It was an attempt by some to save their political skins - not actually fix the budget.
In fact, the Governor has indicated that he would veto any such proposal and the senate appeared to have no intention of ever taking up the bill. No committee ever held a hearing or voted on the proposal! No legislator had a chance to study and understand the details of this bill.
Early Monday Morning Vote-The Budget:
We did pass a budget to finish out the session, but it takes the state into the red. Because we could not achieve real revenue reforms, the revenue estimates for this next year are estimated to come in well short of actually funding the full budget. We are constitutionally unable to run deficits yet that is exactly what the legislature passed - a deficit budget.
No business can operate this way and thus I voted no
. The legislature handed to the Governor almost full control of the budget and the cuts that are surely coming. Yes, the budget did have some good provisions included - like protecting K-12 from budget cuts and increasing money for state hospitals. Yet, each one of these important items are subject to line item vetoes
by the Governor as he looks to make cuts.
Our state, our children, and our future generations deserve better. Kansans must stand up and elect responsible leaders in August and November. We have a chance to make right this fiscal disaster. We can rid our state of irresponsible politicians who would rather get re-elected than support good public policy.
I will be attacked in the coming weeks leading to the August primary. Special interest groups who prefer to preserve the current system will try to unseat me and many other thoughtful leaders. Do not buy into their attacks and negative post cards. Our state and our future will collapse if we do not elect more responsible leaders.
I thank you for your thoughts, prayers, and encouraging words this session. I look forward to staying in touch with you and maybe even knocking on your door this summer. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to be of service to you!