Archive for Thursday, April 14, 2005

Governor criticizes Legislature’s efforts

April 14, 2005

— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has stepped up her criticism of the Legislature's work on school finance, the budget, health care and campaign finance reform.

"The Legislature really has failed to deal with all those critical issues," Sebelius said in a news conference Friday.

The Legislature adjourned April 1 and will return April 27 for its so-called wrap-up session.

"I'm hoping they'll study hard while they're gone and come back ready to roll up their sleeves on the serious issues that remain to be dealt with," Sebelius said.

Republicans, who hold a large majority in the Legislature, approved a $125 million increase to schools that is now being reviewed by the Kansas Supreme Court, which had ruled the current finance system was inadequate.

Republicans said the funding increase would come from growing revenue and tapping into cash balances. They say the plan provides a significant increase to schools without a statewide tax increase.

But Sebelius, a Democrat, said the spending plan would put payments to the highway plan and state employee pension system "in serious jeopardy."

She said lawmakers should consider expanded gambling to produce more revenue for the budget in future years.

Republicans also scuttled Sebelius' proposed reorganization of the state health care system and have blocked a campaign finance proposal that would force so-called "issue advocacy" organizations to reveal their funding sources.

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