State Budget Cuts Could Affect Kansas' Most Vulnerable

By: Alicia Myers Email
By: Alicia Myers Email

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

State lawmakers head back to Topeka next week. One of their top priorities is to hammer out the final budget plan.

Unless big changes are made in the state's budget battle, some of Kansas' most vulnerable may suffer some of the cuts.

The organizations affected most, could be those dealing with services to children, the elderly, people with disabilities, low-income families, mental and social health, and education.

"It's not fair to cut from the most vulnerable of citizens," said Chad VonAnnen, CDDO client.

Clients using those resources spoke-out Tuesday, urging lawmakers to think twice before once again cutting from their programs.

"The disabled are not dollars and cents, but are real people who live, love and dream," said VonAnnen.

"If these programs cease to exist, people will lose the only lifeline they have," said Janet, COMCARE client.

When it comes to education, many districts are looking to make deep cuts as well. Wichita is currently looking to cut $30 million out of next year's budget.

"Very likely, we're going to see fewer classroom teachers for that increased number of students, fewer school nurses available to treat their needs, fewer social workers, fewer school psychologists, fewer librarians, fewer of everything, yet, the number of students keeps increasing," said Randy Mousley, UTW.

All organizations agreed, everyone would be affected by the cuts.

"We as a people need to go forth, and need to talk to our mother, father, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and our children and get them to call our legislators, and let them know that we want more than what they're trying to give to us," said Jean Gray, KOSE.

Right now, there are more than 200 differences between the House and Senate's spending plans.

The legislature is scheduled to return to work April 27, with members of the budget conference committee slated to head back early to work on the budget.

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