Craig Andres
May 3, 2017

Lawmakers need to find nearly $900 million dollars to fix the budget. Some groups are appealing to voters to call legislators.

The group called Rise Up, Kansas is appealing for a direct call to lawmakers.

“Lawmakers are voting on a revenue package, revenue reform package, right now in their wrap up session,” says Duane Goossen with Rise Up, Kansas and the Kansas Center for Economic Growth. “And it’s critical that lawmakers fix up the state’s financial system so that schools can be adequately funded.”

Goossen’s group, Rise Up, Kansas has ads airing on the radio that appeal for a call to action.

The ad says, in part, “Kansans are ready to reverse course. Now it’s up to state lawmakers. The legislature has until June 30th to join the 74 percent of Kansans who reject the Governor’s agenda.”

But another group disagrees with those numbers. The Kansas Policy Institute is running social media and radio ads as well as offering online support materials that say only 4-17 percent of Kansans want to reverse course on Governor Sam Brownback’s tax cuts or to raise personal income taxes.

“Our hope is that people feel plugged in viewing the Kansas better together ads. Not necessarily to call lawmakers but to seek out more information, to take surveys that we’ve set up in some of the different advertising,” says James Franko with the Kansas Policy Institute. “To come to our site to learn more about what the true situation of the state budget really is.”

The Kansas Policy Institute has online, radio, and social media ads that say, in part, “A few years ago Kansas passed tax cuts for everyone. Not long after the state budget was strained. But not because of lower taxes. The problem was because of more government spending.”

Franko says a responsible approach to fixing the Kansas budget includes not spending nearly $200 million of taxpayer money on the current budget fix. He says there is a lot of money budgeted that is no longer allocated for specific spending.

“Some of the biggest challenges that we face is providing accurate information to different people. A lot of folks up in Topeka, in good faith, have a different perspective and we certainly have a perspective as well,” says Franko. “Our message is absolutely the same, that before we go asking individual Kansans to send more money to Topeka, we should make sure that we are asking government to operate efficiently. And until that happens, we shouldn’t even be talking about tax hikes.”

Goossen’s group, meanwhile, says reinstating tax breaks championed by Governor Sam Brownback in 2012, is the right thing to do.

“Our budget continues to be out of balance,” says Goossen. “If lawmakers do not adequately fund schools or put an appropriate amount into the school finance formula, then there is a real chance that schools may not open this August because the court then may rule that the funding formula or the revenue package for the finance plan for the schools is not adequate.”

Two different approaches to spending.  You likely will be hearing one or both on radio and social media, soon.

Read more from KSN here.

ClayKSN: Radio and social media appeal to taxpayers