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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Kansas Gov. Brownback takes on the Supreme Court over education cuts

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has decided to take on the Kansas Supreme Court and the entire system of checks and balances, in his continuing defunding of public education. Last week an attorney represented the state government and argued that the Kansas Supreme Court had no right to demand that lawmakers spend hundreds of $millions that have been cut by the Brownback administration. He has refused to spend adequate money on the state’s public schools.
According to CJ Online;
“Justices of the state's highest court peppered counsel with questions during a three-hour hearing on the appeal of a Shawnee County District Court ruling that the Kansas Constitution was violated after appropriations were slashed during the recession and money plowed into income tax cuts when the economy rebounded.
The lawsuit brought by students and districts in Hutchinson, Dodge City, Wichita and Kansas City, Kan., produced the lower court finding in January that state aid ought to be increased by more than $440 million annually.”

As Brownback has taken on the Supreme Court, he has argued in the past that he represents the will of the people and the courts have no right to interfere.
"Through today's ruling, the courts are drastically increasing the property tax burden on every Kansan," Brownback said in a statement reported in NewsMax. "The legislative process is the appropriate venue for debating and resolving issues of taxation and spending."
Some of his allies in the legislature have shown outright contempt for the courts interference. 
“Such high profile legislators as Rep. Steve Brunk from Wichita and Senate President Susan Wagle have suggested they will just ignore the ruling of the Supreme Court and continue to do what they feel like,” according to The Idiot Factor.”Brunk said there’s a mood in the legislature to give the courts the finger,”
The Kansas City Star reported that the courts have pushed for adequate school spending, but the present legislators may now just ignore the court’s ruling;
“Eight years ago, after much wrangling, the Legislature complied with a Supreme Court order and pumped an additional $750 million-plus into schools.
This time, the Legislature might not be as willing to agree to more court-ordered spending, moving Kansas into unknown territory about what happens when one branch of state government defies another.
“I don’t see the Legislature right now, with this makeup, going along with what the courts say,” said House Speaker Ray Merrick, a Republican from Johnson County. “But I could be surprised.”

So the battle continues with Brownback and his supporters fighting over cuts supporting tax cuts for businesses and some individuals at the expense of the state’s commitments to public education. It is a sad day when favors to business people are more important than the education of our future generations.

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