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Parkinson drops by, promotes budget plan

Governor Mark Parkinson dropped by the office this morning, pushing his ideas for fixing the state budget.

Revenue estimates recently came in, projecting a $500 million gap for FY 2010-2011, which isn’t as bad as many said it would be. However, $500 million is still pretty bad. Add to that a $70 million dollar gap remaining in FY 2010, and we’re talking about some real money.

The governor said, however, the remedy isn’t that bad, if we use his plan.

Parkinson is proposing making the seat belt law in Kansas a primary law, which, if it was enacted in the last legislative session, could have brought in $10 million for this fiscal year. He’s also pushing a three year temporary sales tax. Parkinson is pushing the tax pretty hard, saying that through it, we can start to rebuild the deep budget cuts we’ve endured this year. Without them, according to the governor, it might take as long as a decade.

The governor also reserved some strong words for the Republican leadership budget, or Yoder Plan (After St. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R – Johnson County), which proposes allowing school districts to raise property taxes to offset education cuts.

“They would not only lose money for schools, but raise taxes. It’s the worst of both worlds,” Parkinson said. “It’s more taxes for less money. We need a budget to works for all schools, and not just the Johnson County School District.”

On the subject of removing sales tax exemptions, Parkinson saw it as a non-starter, given the built in constituencies surrounding the exemptions.

“It’s a lot harder to remove them, than it is to talk about them,” Parkinson said. “It’s also an out for politicians who don’t have a real plan.”

Parkinson will continue his pitch in Salina later today.

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