Last week I sat down to work on a legislative update and found myself stumped at what to say. All the little individual items I thought I needed to share seemed to pale when faced with what’s going on in Washington. I sat watching the House & Senate debate and vote on legislation they hadn’t read while breaking their own rules that were put in place to prevent them from not allowing time for review before voting and I grew angrier by the hour. Our Republic is under attack in ways we never imagined possible. We are nationalizing industries that should be private, saving businesses that perhaps shouldn’t be saved from themselves, and spending money that has so many zeros behind it that it boggles the mind to try to comprehend it. Friday the 13th really was a dark day this February. I simply couldn’t find the words after all that to talk about little things going on here in Kansas and decided to wait until after the weekend to work on an update.
But one big thing was happening last week and the results of it have exploded in the Kansas news this week, dwarfing anything else I need to share with you. The Kansas Senate & House managed to pass a compromise bill dealing with the 2009 budget shortfall. All that’s needed as of this afternoon is the Governor’s signature and the current financial crisis is averted. Of course this means cutting spending, which the Governor had the power to do herself last November and still has the power to do today.
You’ve probably heard the dire warnings: Tax Refunds delayed, state employees won’t get paid on time, schools won’t be funded… none of which has to happen if the Governor just does her job. The sky is falling and it’s not my fault, those bad legislators won’t borrow money like I asked! They know they can do this, it’s no big deal, and we do it all the time!
Really, could that be true? As I looked into it, I found myself even angrier than I had been last week watching the circus in DC. You see, the Governor has at her disposal procedures she can take to cut non-essential spending, allowing the government to pay it’s essential bills on time. Has she done it? NO. Instead she’s out there scaring state employees by using taxpayer-funded-email lists to tell them that she cares about them but those bad legislators aren’t doing what I want so you might not get paid on time.
And meanwhile, I’m getting reports of what’s going on with our taxpayer-funded schools. Yes, that would be the schools that reaped a windfall in 2005 thanks to the State Supreme Court legislating funding. Kids are being told to tell their parents that they must call their legislators and beg them not to cut funding or class sizes will double, music and art will be cut from curriculums, and on and on it goes. I have in my hands a letter from a local high school principal, sent to parents with taxpayer funds, reminding them “it’s less expensive to educate children than incarcerate them!”
Honestly, as a homeschool mom who successfully graduated 5 children into community-involved adults without one penny of help from the state, I can assure you I’m quite aware of that little fact, that’s why I didn’t send my children to be incarcerated day after day in government-funded schools. What? You think this means I hate public schools and want them de-funded? Hogwash. See, I can use outlandish rhetoric and hyperbole, too. How about we discuss things rationally and try the truth in regards to funding and the state budget.
The fact is school funding makes up a HUGE percentage of the state budget. We can’t cut spending as much as we must without having the schools share in the cut – unless we are willing to make draconian cuts in other areas like social services and health care to those who can’t care for themselves, the mentally disabled, the elderly with no family, the orphans in foster care. We have a moral obligation to take care of those who cannot care for themselves and if that means a school district can’t build a nice new building this year or must cut a few administrators to make ends meet, well, that’s what’s it going to take. Face it, we can’t just print money and buy everything we want the day we want it. We must budget for it, plan ahead, make do when we can, and be practical in our spending. That’s what families do and that’s what government at all levels needs to do as well. Spending by government will not save us and taxing the people more will not magically bring the state increased revenues if the people cannot pay the bill!
Folks, it’s time you take action. Usually we suggest you call your legislators and tell them what you think – and of course that’s still a good idea now as well. But this time we need something more from you. We need you to make your voices heard in your local paper, on the radio talk shows in your area, and in your communities at town hall meetings, school activities, wherever you are, you need to speak up and say enough is enough, stop the madness, it’s time we live within our means as a society.
There are a number of places you can get talking points and more details. I’m going to list a few of them below. I’m also going to link to the pages on our website that will help you find your local paper, talk radio and elected officials. Please speak up now while we can still make a difference in Kansas.
KRA Executive Director
Links For More Info & Talking Points:
Who will blink first? House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, and Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said it would have been illegal for the State Finance Council to have authorized additional short-term debt because state officials couldn’t honestly declare the state could pay the obligation by the end of the fiscal year.
House leadership responds to Sebelius lies Statement from House Leadership regarding the Governor’s continued efforts to misrepresent her role in the events of the State Finance Council meeting and her responsibility to address a revised 2009 budget.
Governor’s Letter to State Employees – Caution! This link is full of the Governor’s spin!