The Kansas House and Senate have passed a $13 billion state budget set to begin July 1. The budget makes some minor cuts to K-12 education and major cuts to other areas, but in the end signifies only a 6.8% decrease in general fund expenditures in comparison to 2009 spending levels.
While 6.8% sounds like a significant decrease, it’s just a drop in the bucket compared to previous spending sprees. And once again K-12 has only been dealt a 1% cut in funding even though it’s budget amounts to half state general fund expenditures.
But that number, $13 billion, that really got my attention. After multiple bailouts, billions and trillions just seem to mesh together in my mind and have become meaningless. It reminds me of the demonstrations done in high school to show just how far away Pluto was from the Sun or changing seconds into years to try and get a handle on millions/billions of years.
So, in order to understand just how much $13 billion is, I thought I’d break it down a bit.
First, $13 billion for the year means the state will spend just over $35.5 million every day. That’s just under $1.5 million every hour, or $24,734 every minute. Most frightening, that’s $412 every second of every day for an entire year.
$13 billion divided by nearly 3 million Kansans (2.776 million to be exact) means the state will spend $4,683 for each citizen. That’s $18,732 of spending for a family of four in one year. That means Kansas will spend $13 every day on each Kansan or $51 every day for a family of four. If you wanted to put money in a jar to pay your share, a family of four would have to add $2.12 every hour or about a quarter every seven minutes.
And that’s just state government. That doesn’t include money you’d have to give to local government.
Legislators made cuts in spending and they should be commended. But when put in perspective, the figures beg the question, “Does the government tax too little or spend too much?”
Would you make a $390 monthly payment for the services state government provides? Are you getting your money’s worth?