Rep. Anthony Brown responds to question on state budget crisis
On the budget I am very concerned about the continued growth of state government. There are essential functions that state government should provide and among the most important are care for the aging and elderly as well as those Kansans with developmental and physical disabilities.
In that same level of importance is funding education and public safety. I would think that many Kansans want to make sure these programs are functioning well. The problem arises when we are nearly $500 million short in state revenue, and where can the state come up with that money? K-12 and higher education funding accounts for near 65 percent of all state general fund money, and Medicaid accounts for another 18 percent. If the Legislature does what the governor has asked and keep education and Medicaid whole then the $500 million shortfall has to be cut from the remaining 17 percent of the budget. Those cuts would be catastrophic and there would be some good programs go away entirely.
We have some very tough decisions before us this legislative session, cuts will be made and some will be severe. In my opinion, I would like to include everyone in the sacrifice.
I favor cuts to current programs. I would also support state worker furlough in place of reductions in staff and long term layoffs. I believe we at that the Legislature can reduce our pay by 5 percent or more and ask all state workers earning in excess of $50,000 to do the same.
I will not support tax increases during this economic climate. I do not think that folks want us to raise their taxes because the Legislature has not had the courage to pass fiscally responsible budget over the last four years.