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Our voice in Topeka

Representative of District 70

Next week, legislature will re-convene for the wrap-up session (also referred to as the omnibus session or veto session). The one looming aspect for wrapping up — and revamping — will be the budget. In my first columns, I talked a lot about the budget, and it is still the biggest issue of the day. The consensus revenue reports came in last Friday, and we now know that revenue receipts received by April 15th (our taxes coming in) are down about $350 million more than previously predicted in November, and it appears we will have less than a $20 million cushion to start the new fiscal year in July. The governor planned on substantially more than that.

We have to find $330 million in new money (translate that to raised taxes), or find $330 million more in cuts (spending reductions), or some mix of the two.

The questions are the same questions that were raised in January and February: What can we cut without crippling our future? What can we tax that will not harm our citizens? There are no easy answers. Can we even raise taxes slightly without harming Kansans? I want to say we will not raise any taxes. I want to say we will not further cut education, the needy, or corrections. I cannot say both and balance the budget.

What we could do is attack the plethora of sales tax exemptions, if there is the will in the legislature to pare them down. Right now, there are 83 exemptions! Eliminating most of them could help.

Next week likely will find me with no new information on the subject in time to write my column on Sunday; therefore, I may have nothing to report next week. Time will tell.

As always, you may contact me by e-mail at Brookens70@sbcglobal.net or write me at 201 Meadow Lane, Marion KS 66861.

Last modified April 23, 2009

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