TOPEKA – Last Friday, Gov. Sam Brownback announced $56 million in budget allotments. However, information from the Office of Revisor of Statutes indicates that these actions exceeded Brownback’s legal authority.
“The allotment authority is a tool available to governors to keep the Kansas budget in the black,” said House Democratic Leader Paul Davis, Lawrence. “It is not intended as a means of sidestepping budget negotiations. The Governor needs to follow the process that is in place.”
According to the Office of Revisor of Statutes:
In my opinion, this allotment authority may only be applied to amounts that have been appropriated or authorized by act of the Legislature for expenditure or otherwise from the State General Fund, which comprises the approved budget enacted during the 2010 regular session of the Legislature.
These estimated increases in caseloads for FY 2011 are not appropriations or other authorizations enacted by law to remove moneys from the SGF by expenditure or otherwise and are not authorized to be used as all or part of the basis for an allotment sustem under K.S.A. 75-3722.
In short, Brownback’s allotments do not follow the law because the funds he adjusted have not yet been appropriated by the Legislature. According to the Kansas Department of Legislative Research, Brownback has the allotment authority to reduce the FY 2011 budget by $7 million, which is a far cry from the $56 million he has claimed to cut.
“This is why Governor Brownback should not have taken the inappropriate, unprecedented step of intervening while budget negotiations were still underway,” said Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley. “Now we are right back where we started. We need our Governor to show some leadership and encourage the House to work with the Senate and reach a bipartisan agreement.”
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