Today, Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee unveiled a budget proposal that cuts approximately $361 million from essential state services, including $200 million from Kansas public school districts.
“This proposal slashes funding for public schools and was passed two days after the same Republican leaders tried to push through over $350 million in corporate tax breaks,” said House Democratic Leader Paul Davis, Lawrence. “This is not what Kansas families sent us here to do.”
Key components the Republican cuts are:
- $172 million cuts to K-12 public education, after five rounds of cuts in the previous year bring aid to public schools well below the 2006 level needed to get federal stimulus funding;
- Cuts to Department of Aging affecting services to our older Kansans; and
- Cuts of between $5-7 million for mental health programs touching 90,000 Kansans who need mental health assistance.
“House Republican Leadership is trying to balance the budget on the backs of Kansas schoolchildren, mentally ill and senior citizens,” said Assistant House Democratic Leader Jim Ward, Wichita. “And that is just wrong. These cuts are going to have a devastating impact on essential services that all Kansans depend on every day.”
After 67 days with no proposal from the majority party, today’s plan was passed out of committee after an hour of discussion on a straight party line vote.
“In the past, we have always worked through the budget process in a bipartisan manner, thoroughly reviewing subcommittee recommendations and engaging in open dialogue from both sides of the aisle,” said Rep. Bill Feuerborn, Garnett, the ranking Democrat on House Appropriations Committee. “That is certainly not what happened today. Democrats are unified in opposition to this proposal.”
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