Yael T. Abouhalkah

Kansas lawmakers play $45,000-a-day joke on taxpayers

The Kansas House met for about an hour Wednesday, then abruptly adjourned until the members meet again on Thursday. And voila! That’s another $45,000 or so in taxpayer funds down the drain.

As the Legislature drones on, Kansans continue to shell out that much per day to keep lawmakers in Topeka, way past the deadline they set for going home in mid-May.

It’s a costly joke on taxpayers, especially since the GOP-controlled Legislature originally spoke so confidently of getting all its work done as scheduled in 80 days.

It’s also a big waste of money, considering the Republican members so often pontificate about their desire to trim government fat. Yet here they are, squandering public funds they could have saved.

The lawmakers got to this point because they spent far too much time earlier in the session approving unconstitutional bills on guns and trying to gut the Kansas court plan that’s working perfectly well.

Sure, the Legislature has some important jobs still left to do.

The members haven’t passed a budget yet.

They haven’t decided what the sales tax rate will be after July 1.

When the decisions eventually are made, they could affect how hundreds of millions of dollars are spent in the future and how high the tax burdens will be on people when it comes to income taxes and sales taxes.

Gov. Sam Brownback has urged the Legislature to keep the sales tax at 6.3 percent, which would be a .6 percent tax increase over what it’s supposed to drop to on July 1, per a 2010 law.

That higher tax would generate millions of dollars that Brownback and the state desperately need to pay for future lost revenues because of the unwise income tax cuts the lawmakers approved in 2012.

This week, Brownback and Senate leaders were still trying to get the House to go along with a sales tax increase to at least 6 percent. House members were resisting, accurately pointing out that the law says the tax is supposed to drop to 5.7 percent in July.

After the brief House meeting Wednesday morning, the members adjourned until their next get-together on Thursday.

And so the $45,000-a-day waste goes on in Topeka.