OK, it’s time for some more of that under-the-Dome insider stuff for you folks who want to know more than most about what’s going on in the Statehouse.
You may have read or heard about this logjam over House and Senate negotiators working out an agreement on the governor’s rescission bill. That’s the bill that generally cuts the appropriations made to state agencies last year. Falling revenues have made last year’s appropriations unsupportable.
The rescission bill goal: To make sure the state ends its fiscal year (June 30) with at least a few bucks in the bank.
Gov. Sam Brownback has proposed a bill that makes cuts and shuffles  funds so the state has a positive balance, and the House agrees and the Senate says, yes, we need a balance, but not the $35 million or so that Brownback wants.
And that’s the hang-up between the House and the Senate. There are lots of little issues, but it comes down to the size of the balance in the State General Fund on June 30.
Oh, and while this fight goes on between House and Senate negotiators on the rescission bill — remember both chambers must pass identical bills for them to go to the governor for his signature — there’s a big hammer out there, and the governor is holding it.
If the Legislature can’t agree on that rescission bill, the governor has the authority to make allotments on spending this year. That’s basically telling agencies that they can’t spend the money they were appropriated by last year’s Legislature … before Brownback became governor.
Now, allotments are a big deal in the Statehouse where there are agencies and interest groups concerned about their own budgets and watching every dollar. Many Kansans don’t see the detail, and frankly don’t care much about it. They’re looking for cutting spending, downsizing government and such — the “big picture.”

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What are the politics on this?
Most years, governors have been hesitant to make allotments. It essentially overrides the Legislature which the governor needs to work with most of the time. It also makes the governor the sole target of the criticism for cutting this or that — or on a broader level, the leader on reducing spending and balancing the budget.
In the current political climate, with lots of non-specific complaints about “big government” and “out of control spending,” allotments probably aren’t a major political problem. This governor says that most Kansans want spending cut. He’s probably right — for most Kansans.
Drill down farther; there are fans of specific programs and those who worry that reduced state spending means more local government spending and higher property taxes, which they despise.
How long do you want to wait to have your driver’s license renewed? Or someone to come out to see about that neglected child down the street? But, from an aerial view, the governor gets the sole credit for cutting spending, and all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto.
Maybe there will be a solution to the rescission bill this week, maybe not. But there’s a hammer in Brownback’s hand that you now know about … without having to spend 34 years under the dome.


Syndicated by Hawver News Co. LLC of Topeka; Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver's Capitol Report — to learn more about this statewide nonpartisan political news service, visit the Web site at www.hawvernews.com.