Lawmakers respond to Brownback’s budget blame

TOPEKA (KSNT) — A blame game has emerged at the statehouse, this time over the state’s finances, and now many Republican lawmakers aren’t happy.

While addressing the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce last Thursday, Governor Sam Brownback insinuated the legislature is to blame for income tax cuts that lead to the current budget shortfall.

KSNT News spoke with Republican lawmakers Monday, who say they’re not the only ones to blame.

“I find that ridiculous, blame is wasted time and effort. We have a situation, let’s move forward and fix it,” said Rep. Barbara Bollier, (R) of Mission Hills.

Even members of the governor’s own party are upset after he insinuated the legislature is at fault for the shortfall.

Especially, they say, since the shortfall is anything but unexpected.

“It’s kind of interesting that after the election he realized, that gosh we have this deficit issue, and it’s even more interesting the legislature is the cause of it,” said Rep. Tom Moxley, (R) of Council Grove.

They say they did exactly what the governor wanted — cutting taxes — but the governor says those cuts were deeper than he proposed.

The Governor’s Office tells us his remarks have been misconstrued. The governor meant to imply that the initial budget he proposed isn’t what the legislature ended up passing. He says ultimately, the budget is in their hands, but some lawmakers disagree.

“Semantics. I personally hold the Governor responsible for this, he is the leader, and has been,” said Rep. Bollier.

Democrats we spoke to say it’s ironic the governor is criticizing members of his own party, but all agree the focus should be finding a solution.

“There’s plenty of blame to go around, but now we’ve got a problem, let’s move forward. I’m looking forward to seeing that out of all parties,” said Rep. Moxley.

Hearings on portions of the governor’s budget proposal are scheduled to begin Wednesday in both chambers.

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