Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Brownback: 2012 Legislative season puts Kansas on the right track

By SAM BROWNBACK, Governor of Kansas

In January, I challenged the Kansas Legislature to take on an agenda that would get our state on a path of economic growth and prosperity. 

I proposed reforming the state’s policies regarding taxes, KPERS, Medicaid, education and water.  Many called this an overly ambitious agenda for the 2012 session. 

But the Legislature responded with one of the hardest-working sessions on record.  The 2012 session was marked by significant accomplishments.
  • I will sign a pro-growth tax reform law that reduces the tax burden on hard working Kansans and small business owners.  It will leave $1.5 billion in Kansans’ pockets during the next two years, create tens of thousands of jobs, and make our state the best place in America to start and grow a small business. 
  • Legislation to reform the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System is on its way to my desk.  It will ensure hard working state employees have the stable retirement system that they deserve.
  • On July 1st, one of the largest reorganizations of state government will begin the transformation of Medicaid into a system that will improve the health and social outcomes for our most vulnerable Kansans, and in the long run, will help the state address the waiting lists for waiver services.
  • For the first time in decades, the Legislature had in-depth discussions about rewriting our state’s school finance formula.
  • This session I signed into law several pieces of legislation to safeguard our state’s water resources for future generations.  We repealed the state’s “use-it-or-lose-it” doctrine of our water law to move Kansas from a development policy with our water to a conservation ethic. 
  • And soon, I will carefully review and consider a budget bill that increases funding for our schools and tech education, funds core responsibilities, keeps government spending within the state’s means and gives the state a healthy ending balance.

The 2012 Legislative session came down to a simple question: do we want to grow the government or grow the economy?  The resounding answer: We’re going to grow the economy. 

As I said in January, the needs are great, and the people of Kansas, particularly our children, depend on us to put our state on a path of economic growth and prosperity. 

We took a giant step in the right direction this year.