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State legislature has plenty to learn from local bodies
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“I feel like we abdicated our responsibility,” Sen Michael O’Donnell, R-Wichita, was quoted in the AP story “Kansas cash balance to be lower than expected,” in Wednesday’s Great Bend Tribune.  
At least O’Donnell is recognizing there is responsibility to be had.  And, he recognizes that it by rights belongs to the legislature.  He also recognizes that Governor Sam Brownback is not the guy they should be passing the buck to.  “We have no guarantee that the governor will make the $50 million in cuts, and we don’t know where the money is going to come from,” he said.  
So far, Brownback has only identified $2 million in cuts, and in just the first month, the anticipated reserve for the state has dropped from the hoped for $86 million to $67 million.  Ouch.
On top of that, Brownback is also looking to Westar for a donation to help pay down his campaign debt--to himself-- while the utility is seeking a rate increase that could mean a 12.1 increase in many Kansans’ energy bills.  
Bills passed by the legislature and signed into law by the governor during the past four years have time after time whittled away at perceived “loopholes” that they claim the poor take advantage of regularly.  They exist in theory, but actual cases with names and faces are about as easy to produce as those of unscrupulous voters gaming the system.  But now, it’s becoming crystal clear that money management skills are lacking in more than the poverty class of this state.  It makes you wonder when the bill collectors are going to start calling, revealing the secret credit cards have been run up and are way past due.
Its time to stop pitting rich against poor, Democrat against Republican and conservative against moderate.  If the Kansas State Legislature can’t once again come back to the table and work together with a true sense of leadership, than we’re all just rats on a sinking ship.  
Perhaps, if they don’t remember how, they could consult with local governing bodies, like the Barton County Commission or our local school boards, who have been keeping heads above water through all of this.  They do it with a sense of duty and leadership that comes with the understanding that the people they represent are also the people they sit next to in church and meet in the check-out lanes of their local markets.