But that didn’t seem to matter much to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback on Monday.
He showed up at Fort Riley to do the politically popular thing and urge the Pentagon to keep the huge Army base fully operational.
Brownback sure didn’t sound like the penny-pinching conservative he likes to portray himself as to his political base.
The governor didn’t trot out the GOP mantra that usually calls for less spending by the federal government.
He didn’t tell people in the Fort Riley audience that it was time to tighten their belts, given the trillions of dollars of U.S. debt.
This embrace of Fort Riley was a bit hypocritical coming from the same governor who has said he wants to slim down Kansas government, whose income tax cuts have cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenues that could have been used for better public services.
This is also the same governor who boldly last week lashed out at higher education and K-12 schools in Kansas.
“The dramatic increase in state education funding that has occurred over the last four years is unsustainable,” he said, calling for $44.5 million in cuts to funds the universities and K-12 schools had expected to receive by the end of the fiscal year June 30.
Now Kansas schools will have to scramble to cover the lost funds the governor has yanked from them, with little warning.
But have no fear, Brownback said: The K-12 schools can just draw down on their reserves to make up for the state’s lack of support.
That’s an interesting contention coming from this governor. After all, Brownback once presided over general fund reserves of just over $700 million at the beginning of the 2014 fiscal year. Those reserves are long gone, because of the ravages of the tax cuts.
The governor had to submit a plan to slash spending by another $280 million just to keep the state budget balanced in the current year. And more cuts, revenue shifting and even tax hikes are ahead in the next fiscal year’s budget starting July 1.
Unlike the federal government, which has spent lavishly on the military for decades, Kansas government can’t print its own money.