At the moment I am sitting at my desk on the floor of the House of Representatives. We are debating our “rescission” bill, which puts Kansas in the place of a balanced budget on June 30, which is the end of fiscal year 2017. We first passed this bill in February, then the Senate made some adjustments and passed it, then it went to a Conference Committee, then it came back for us to vote to concur with the Conference Committee (which we didn’t), then we sent it back to the Committee again, and on and on. Eventually the bill will pass, and the Governor will sign it into law.
The takeaway from this story about our rescission bill is that (believe it or not!) lawmakers try to be very careful in how we spend the people’s money. And that is an important distinction . . . it is not the State’s money, it is yours. It is your money from income tax, property tax, and sales tax, as well as fees you pay for licenses, registrations, etc. The State General Fund budget for fiscal year 2018 will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $6.2 billion (with a “B”). To get lots of really good and detailed information, check out the Governor’s budget for 2018 at http://budget.ks.gov/publications/FY2018/FY2018_GBR_Vol1–UPDATED–1-12-2017.pdf
I should warn you that the report is hundreds of pages long. The first few pages give an overview, and the graphs on p. 22 are particularly interesting. But most of it would be good bedtime reading if you have trouble going to sleep—it gets into lots of numbers and details!
Also this week I heard from many of you (on both sides) regarding Medicaid expansion. Thank you for writing—I especially appreciate the personal emails, and would be happy to dialog more about my vote with any of you.
Friday is the First Adjournment of the Kansas House of Representatives. We have been working hard to finish up all bills that have been through committees, voting on them to get them to the Governor’s desk if they pass the House. So far we have not debated in the full House a budget bill (we call it an Appropriations Bill), or a school funding bill. When we come back on May 1, I assume those will be at the top of the list.
During the break I hope to meet with many of you, visit some schools in the area, and visit our grandson in Denver! If you would like to visit or chat, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be back with updates the first week in May, and in the meantime, happy Easter to all!
Update . . . the Rescission bill did pass the House 108-15, and in the Senate 30-10.