Position of Kansans for State and Local Reform PAC:
Legislators should vote "no" on any budget that increases the state spending (SGF) by more than 3% over last year's budget.
Why 3%: That number equals the rate of inflation plus population growth.
Right now in Topeka, Legislators are making final changes to the state budget.
The following position is approved by the Advisory Board for the Kansans for State and Local Reform PAC: We ask that Kansas Legislators vote "no" on any state budget law that increases State General Fund (SGF) spending by more than 3% from last year's budget.
If you add the rate of inflation to the state's population growth, it equals roughly a 3% total growth.
Position statements require the support of at least the majority of our advisory board, which currently includes Rep. Mike Kiegerl, Michele Lockwood, Sen. Kay O'Connor, and Joel Yourdon.
Background: The budgets proposed by Governor Sam Brownback and the Kansas Senate increase state spending by around 6-7% over last year's numbers. At present time, it looks likely that the House will support similar, large spending increases in state spending. This is despite the fact that a majority of the House -- not just the majority of Republicans, but a majority of the entire 125-member body -- are considered to be conservative.
Many Republican leaders will want you, the taxpayer, to look at overall spending -- this includes dollars that we receive from the federal government, and then spend through the state. We ask you to look at only state spending. State spending is often referred to as "SGF," short for "State General Fund."
If there will be reform in state spending, it appears that it will only come from the House. Please contact House members to urge them to stand strong for limited government, and to cut wasteful spending.
Contact House leadership: Click here for contact information for Speaker Mike O'Neal(right), Speaker Pro Tem Jene Vickrey, Majority Leader Arlen Siegfreid, and Assistant Majority Leader Peggy Mast.
Find your legislator: If you don't know who your legislators are, click here to search by address through a search engine provided by KU.
Contact your legislator: Go to the Kansas Legislature's Web site to search for your House and Senate representatives.
Remember that you cannot count on the mainstream media to give you an accurate portrayal of the size, scope, and amount of room available for reduction in state budget.
Yesterday, Olathe Rep. Lance Kinzer wrote on Facebook that reading The Kansas City Star's description of the Kansas budget "was like an out of body experience."
Kinzer wrote: "Reading the KC Star article on the Budget this morning was like an out of body experience. The KEY point missed is that both the House & Senate budget proposals increase spending of state dollars significantly over current levels. The fact that this core issue is NEVER mentioned by the media is almost comical. The fact we are still intent on growing the General Fund budget despite the clear election mandate for fiscal conservatisim is to me the real political story of the year."
The Monitor described Overland Park Rep. Charlotte O'Hara's feelings this way: "She said the state has sold its soul to the federal government by taking federal funding which obligates the state to future state spending.
O'Hara said she's frustrated with her fellow Republicans who do not vote for cutting the budget and that only about 20 percent of House Republicans have the courage to make the choice for less government and lower taxes."
A recent poll by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce (a fairly conservative group, unlike Johnson County's local chambers) found that 69% of Kansans want to cut spending, in order to balance the state budget. Only 13% want taxes to be raised, and only 18% are undecided. Read the poll results here (PDF). Remember that in Western politics, it's very difficult to get 60% of citizens to agree on anything. John McCain only won 56.5% of the Kansas vote in 2008. President Reagan's 49-state landslide re-election in 1984 was won with only 59% of the popular vote.
I am confident that the size of the state budget that is soon passed will be directly related to the amount of pressure applied by you, the taxpayer. We have our work cut out for us, but I know it will make a difference.
Thank you for your time, as always.
Kansas Representative, 2006-'08
Trustee, Johnson County Community College, 2005-'09
Connect with Benjamin Hodge at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, The Kansas Progress, and LibertyLinked. Hodge is President of the State and Local Reform Group of Kansas. He served as one of seven at-large trustees at Johnson County Community College from 2005-’09, a member of the Kansas House from 2007-’08, a delegate to the Kansas Republican Party from 2009-’10, and was founder of the Overland Park Republican Party in 2011. His public policy record is recognized by Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Association of Broadcasters,the Kansas Press Association, the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government, the NRA, Kansans for Life, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).