Senate GOP pledges unity as session starts
Greetings from the 2008 legislative session.
Recently, Senate Republicans caucused in Topeka. Our caucus demonstrated a refreshing resolve of unity as we head forward into the session.
As chairman of the 2008 Johnson County delegation, it is my goal to lead the delegation in a unified front regarding issues important to Johnson County, so we continue to enjoy our rich heritage of innovation, high quality of life and a healthy business environment.
The most prominent of those issues is that of education funding and ensuring Johnson County school districts receive their fair share of the education pie. Currently, Johnson County funds 30 percent of the state's children, educates 18 percent of them, but only gets 8 percent of the funding sent to the state back in return. This is too much of a disparity - while we recognize our place as an economic engine for the state, we also need to make sure that status is not taken advantage of to the point where Johnson County children are put at a disadvantage.
Another issue important to Johnson County is that of economic prosperity. Kansas has been operating with a credit card mindset lately our state budget situation is approaching a crisis because of excessive spending.
This crisis, along with a high tax burden, threatens our competitiveness and harms our businesses and families.
Our state's population is not growing at a rate that can withstand the dramatic increases in government spending we have seen in the last few years, and the 2008 Legislature will have to make some tough decisions based on the simple principle of affordability. We cannot ask an already-burdened taxpayer to continue to foot the bill for the lack of fiscal responsibility in Topeka.
Immigration will again be an issue in 2008, and this is certainly an issue I hear a lot about. Senate Republicans believe enactment and enforcement of immigration laws are the responsibility of the federal government.
The Senate will be looking to fill the gaps created by this failure to act by Congress. Kansas must resist being a magnet for illegal immigration, which means limiting public benefits and punishing employers who knowingly higher illegals. I know where my constituents stand on this issue, and it is with enforcing our laws - and I stand with them.
There are other issues we will be dealing with, including a reintroduction of a statewide smoking ban, public safety, transportation, and the coal plant issue.
Certainly, with the appointment of a new attorney general and the 2008 elections just around the corner, this year will be politically charged.
I urge you to stay tuned to my weekly newsletters on my Web site at www.senatorjulialynn.com - and of course, contact me anytime by email at: email@example.com or by calling my Topeka office at (785) 296-7382.