Generally we think of budgets as a tool to manage or prioritize our resources. When we establish priorities we are making value judgments on the relative importance of the items we wish to spend our tax dollars. Budgets then are expressions of our values. That being the case the legislature must have very different values than what I believe are shared by most Kansans. Our state has always placed a high degree of importance in caring for our seniors, in providing a safety net for the poor and uninsured, and being a leader in educating our young people. We want families to be able to afford to send their kids to college and believe in extending a helping hand to the disabled. We want good roads and safe communities and value being good stewards of our great state.
How then does the House justify a budget that:
- Has no new funding for public education;
- Cuts higher education by $29 million;
- Robs the state highway fund of $300 million;
- Cuts $49 million from the Department on Aging services for seniors;
- Cuts $6 million for early childhood programs.
These cuts fly in the face of those values long held by the vast majority of Kansans and represent only the beginning of the further cuts that will be necessary due to the Governors tax cuts to the rich and businesses.