Monday, November 23, 2009

Bleeding Kansas

Today the governor announced another $260 million of budget cuts.  Every state agency suffered, though nothing suffered as much as public education, but the governor did not urge furloughs or pay cuts for state employees.  Individual agencies may still furlough, but ours is committed to avoiding that option.  So I'm breathing a little sigh of relief.  I really like giving gifts at Christmas, but I was preparing to be pretty miserly this year.  I might not have to be quite as severe as I was thinking.

People who work for state courts, though, aren't so lucky.  It's been looking pretty dire for them for a while now and they are all very concerned about the real possibility of a total of 6 unpaid weeks.  So while I'm relaxing a little bit right now,  I am mindful that there are lots of other state employees who have to plan for weeks without paychecks.

Which actually puts me in a very good frame of mind for ranting.  Because there are other solutions to this state's budget woes, which are not solely the result of the tanking economy.  No, our problems go back over a decade and are the result of a legislature which rolled back or repealed pretty much every tax they could find.  They went a little nuts with sales tax exemptions.  Seriously, the numbers in business tax cuts going back to 1995 are a little staggering.  And going all the way back to 1995, people tried to warn those tax-cut-happy legislators that they were setting the state up to fail, that we couldn't absorb that much lost revenue, but the Republican-dominated legislature just didn't care.

And now that the doomsday scenario presented by silly Democrats has materialized, the Republican-dominated legislature still doesn't care.  They still don't want to hear it.  And they still flat-out refuse to address our massive budget shortfall, which has now led to 4 separate rounds of budget cuts, each more painful than the last, by even considering the revenue side of things.  They just will not consider increasing revenue.  They won't talk about rolling back any of those tax cuts.  They won't think about ending any sales tax exemptions.  Any option that would add money to the state budget is a non-starter. 

That's just bad management.  Trying to balance a budget without even considering one side of the ledger is irresponsible, stupid, short-sighted, and lots of other adjectives.  It's a little childish, too.  I hold out no hope, though, that the idiots controlling the House Appropriations Committee will wise up.  They'll just doggedly continue down this path of gutting every state agency (like those wasteful, unnecessary courts and schools) until the entire state collapses and our executive and judicial branches go bankrupt.  I think that must be exactly what they want.  Bastards.


Laci the Chinese Crested said...

Dream on! IT takes about 7 months for us to get paid for our court appointments here because of budget infighting.

No one has the balls to either cut spending or raise taxes.

S said...

It's going to be the appointed attorneys who bear the brunt of our budget woes as the 3% reduction we're supposed to achieve is going to occur by reducing the hourly wage for appointments. I wouldn't want to be a private attorney relying on appointments right now.

Nobody likes taxes, but this state has reached the point where there's just nothing left to cut. Some targeted limits on sales tax exemptions would do a lot of good for our schools, courts, and other essential services.

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