House Panel Passes Kansas Budget on Voice Vote, Lots of Transfers
February 2, 2015

(AP) – A Kansas House committee has approved a bill eliminating a projected state budget deficit by relying more on moving money around than cutting spending.
The Appropriations Committee passed its budget-balancing measure on a voice vote. The full House is expected to take up the bill Tuesday.
The state faces a projected shortfall exceeding $330 million in its current budget after tax collections fell $47 million short of expectations in January. The deficit is in the state’s main bank account, which finances general government programs.
The bill mostly diverts money from highway projects and other special funds into the state’s main bank account.
The shortfall arose after lawmakers aggressively cut personal income taxes at Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s urging in 2012 and 2013 to stimulate the state’s economy

Missouri House Budgeteers Abandon Nixon’s Budget Plan
February 6, 2014

(AP) – Missouri’s Republican-led House is starting its budget-writing process from scratch, scrapping the recommendations of Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.

House Budget Committee Chairman Rick Stream said Thursday that he won’t use Nixon’s budget plan as the starting point for legislation, because he believes it spends at least $310 million more than Missouri likely will receive in tax revenues.

Instead, Stream said he is using the current year’s budget as the beginning point for the proposed 2015 budget and will allot each of the six House appropriations committees a lump sum of additional money to divvy out as funding increases.

“I’m going to increase funding in virtually every area, but it won’t be to the levels that the governor promised or proposed,” said Stream, R-Kirkwood.

For example, Stream said he is allotting an additional $317 million in funding increases to the House panel that oversees the budgets of public school districts and higher education. It will be up to that House committee to decide how much of that should go to K-12 schools versus state colleges and universities and how specifically it should be spent.

Stream’s allotment for education funding increases is significantly smaller than the $490 million increase that Nixon recommended for education when he outlined a budget during his State of the State address two weeks ago.

Nixon has defended his plan as a balanced budget that takes a more optimistic view of the state’s economy than embraced by lawmakers.

“As Missouri’s economy continues to pick up steam, now is not the time to back up on our commitment to what we know is the best economic development tool there is: public education,” Nixon spokesman Scott Holste said in written statement responding to the House budget plan.

Nixon proposed a $278 million increase in Missouri’s roughly $3 billion base budget for public school districts, which would move Missouri halfway toward covering the projected shortfall in what’s called for under a state school funding law.

Nixon also proposed a variety of funding increases for higher education, including $42 million to be distributed to colleges and universities based on whether they met performance goals. He also proposed millions of dollars more for scholarships and to accommodate additional students in mental health fields and other particular study areas.

Stream said education funding will remain a priority for the House, even though its budget will include smaller increases than sought by Nixon.

Huelskamp Writes Boehner—I Want My Committees Back
December 8, 2012

Kansas-1 Congressman Tim Huelskamp has sent a second letter to House Speaker John Boehner about being kicked off the house Budget and Agriculture Committee.
Huelskamp was booted from those two important panels earlier this week. He said he has not been told why by the GOP House Leadership, but believes he’s the victim of a political pay back for not voting with leadership often enough.
“It is simply wrong to remove a Member of Congress from a Committee, because he votes his conscience and votes in the interests of his district” Huelskamp said Friday.
In his letter to Speaker John Boehner, Huelskamp wrote, “ I respectfully renew my request to be appointed to a seat on each when the Steering Committee reconvenes,”.
That could be as early as next week when all of the House Republican Committee assignments are expected to be released
“The Agriculture and Budget Committees fall directly within my areas of expertise.” He added.
Huelskamp noted he was a farmer and had worked on government budgets in the past.
The tone of the letter is much more businesslike that Huelskamp’s earlier remarks about the demotion.
He claimed he and three other Republicans were removed from their committees for not being loyal enough to the Republican House Leaders.
Wednesday he called his demotion a display of “raw political power”.
Huelskamp says he’s asked the House Leadership to explain why he was dumped, a specific list of which votes he cast that made the leaders unhappy.
On Wednesday Huelskamp seems to dismiss the importance of his House Committee work.
He told reporters the House Budget Committee had not met for months.
“We haven’t had a Budget hearing or meeting since the spring”, he said.
Huelskamp also discounted the work of the Agriculture Committee.
He said Wednesday the farm panel never worked the current Farm Bill under consideration very much.
“On the farm Bill sub-committee, we never really worked the Farm Bill. It was presented to us by the Chairman, Frank Lucan, ‘here’s the bill’” Huelskamp said.
Huelkamp first claimed his removal from the Ag Committee means for the first time since Kansas entered the Union, no member from the state’s delegation was on the Agriculture Committee. He now says it is more in the range of 50 years.
Agri-business is the dominant industry in Huelskamp’s huge “Big First’ Congressional District that covers the western half of the state.