Brownback Tries to Back Off Supreme Court Justices in State of the State Speech

Jan 17, 2014

Gov. Brownback giving the State of the State speech.

Governor Sam Brownback said the number one item in the state budget is education in his recent State of the State speech according to a recent article from the Kansas Health Institute.  

"Too many decisions are made by unaccountable, opaque institutions," Brownback said.  "Elected officials are sometimes complicit in this transference of power, because it removes them from accountability. So, let's be clear. On the number one item in the state budget - education - the Constitution empowers the Legislature - the people's representatives - to fund our schools.”

Lawmakers have waiting to see what the state’s Supreme Court will decide in the case of Gannon vs State of Kansas, which claims that the state underfunds its public schools and uses an unequal formula that puts children in poor school districts at disadvantage to those from richer ones. 

Five of the state's seven Supreme Court justices attended the event.  They sat expressionless during the governor's remarks that essentially told the justices it was not their business to determine who much the legislature should spend on schools.

The governor's tax cuts virtually assure state revenues will drop over the next couple of years, leaving policymakers little or nothing to put into schools without a tax increase, even if a majority were inclined to spend the money.

More about the Governor’s State of the State speech reported by Mike Shields for The Kansas Health Institute can be found here.