State is ‘flat broke,’ Sen. Wolf, Rep. Bollier tell constituents in wrap-up of legislative session

Rep. Barbara Bollier and Sen. Kay Wolf held a legislative wrap-up session Thursday.
Rep. Barbara Bollier and Sen. Kay Wolf held a legislative wrap-up session Thursday.

“We really are flat broke. We have no money,” Kansas Senator Kay Wolf said Thursday. Where would the money come from if the courts rule against the state in the pending school finance case, she asked. Rep. Barbara Bollier agreed with that assessment: “We’re not only broke, we’re below broke.”

The two legislators spoke to a small crowd at the Asbury Methodist Church Thursday in a wrap-up session about the action in the recently concluded legislative session. Much of the discussion was about the financial condition of the state.

Sen. Wolf said the state cannot continue to borrow from KDOT to balance the budget and she was opposed to the delay in KPERS payments. “I don’t think we should be borrowing it to begin with. The last few years we have continued to rob Peter to pay Paul.”

Bollier objected to the legislative process, noting that most of the legislation was passed in the last days without a chance for amendments or for the bills to be worked through the committee process. “It’s just wrong,” Bollier said. “I don’t vote for things that are not following procedure correctly.” The bills were often not available to read before the vote was taken, she said.

Other issues from the legislative session included:

  • The property tax lid – Both said they voted for the revisions to the property tax lid because local governments had asked them to get the changes made.
  • Bills that were stopped – Bollier said several bad bills were defeated, including a repeal of Common Core standard, the method for selecting Supreme Court justices, and a welfare reform change that further limited payments to families with newborns.
  • Medicaid expansion – Bollier said the state has left a billion dollars on the table by refusing expansion.
    School finance – Wolf said the Johnson County delegation has hit a brick wall each time it tires to change a formula that is not fair to the county schools.
  • The late night sessions – “It is wrong to have people up and it is poor decision making,” Bollier said of the session that ran past midnight.