The Buzz

TheChat: Gov. Sam Brownback offers a nod toward school block grants

Here we go:

▪ “I like the idea of the local school districts being able to move money around to get more of it into the classroom because we are not getting the money where the people want it to be, where they want it to get to.” — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signaling that he wants aspects of the block-grant school funding scheme to remain in the permanent school formula.

Lawmakers are working on a new formula. In the meantime, they developed a block-grant funding plan that finances districts based on a recent allotment. One feature of block grants is it gives school administrators more flexibility in deciding how to spend the money. Brownback likes that part of it.

▪ “What has been used as a short-term fix to the state general fund deficit is turning into a long-term disaster for our state highways.” — Mike Johnston, the former head of the Kansas Turnpike Association, on the state’s practice of borrowing money from the highway fund to finance general state operations.

The total has now reached $1.4 billion in recent years, and $278 million in this fiscal year alone. The practice is so common that the highway fund is now referred to as the “Bank of KDOT.” Johnston, who now oversees a group of transportation industries, opposes the moves, calling the transfers “unsustainable.”

▪ “We’re honored by the support we are receiving from conservatives who are tired of career politicians and are ready for real leadership.” — Austin Chambers, campaign manager of Missouri GOP gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens, on a strong fundraising week.

Greitens reportedly brought in more than $200,000 in the last few days. Greitens is pacing the GOP field when it comes to money raised. (link via

▪ “(Intelligence and law enforcement officials) are united in saying that the place that is most dangerous for terrorists to come into this country is, in fact, the visa program. It is not the refugee program.” — Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill saying she favors reforms to the visa program.

Her counterpart, Sen. Roy Blunt, agrees with McCaskill, who called the refugee program the most difficult way to enter the country.