The bill correcting the $80 million error on school funding should be treated as simply a technical correction. But, like it or not, it is an opportunity for amendments and a rehash of the original bill passed and signed by the Governor. The wildcard here is over the three week break, what did legislators hear from constituents and/or lobbyists with money for the fall election? Were they complimented for doing what was right or castigated for over funding and bowing to the Supreme Court? As votes are taken on amendments, we will quickly know which way legislators were successfully directed.
Opinions differ on whether the school funding bill might need tax increases sometime soon. But for now, not having to make any tax increases in an election year made the most legislators happy. Unfortunately, they are working a possible tax cut for Kansans tied to the changes nationally on deductions. I understand the politics. But this is a missed opportunity to take a modest step in putting together the resources for next year that are going to be needed if we want to make further progress on getting the State of Kansas back on track.
So what is the Court’s next move? Will the legislative funding number be enough? At this point, I hope so for the sake of the court system and the positive step taken to fund education. Shooting down what the Legislature has done could set off a constitutional crisis. For sure, there would be another push for changing the Constitution and further movement to throw Judges out of office. Neither of these actions, if successful in the broader sense, would be good for the State of Kansas. It would signal a declining support for public education, a movement away from the three equal branches of government that our founding fathers knew was necessary, and it would leave partisan politics playing a much stronger role than ever.
Sine Die, final adjournment is set for May 4th. If things don’t go as hoped, there will very likely be a special session of the legislature this summer.