Earlier this week, the governor announced state budget cuts of $48 million. Wichita will lose nearly $3 million and Sedgwick County will lose close to $5.2 million.
The state makes two payments a year to its 105 counties and more than 300 cities. This money helps pay for things like road improvement and social services. Governor Graves says the state cannot afford to make the second payment.
Local government leaders say the money was promised to them and they have already worked it into this year's budget. Sedgwick County Commissioner Ben Sciortino says he does not know what other programs can be cut back, and it is too late for the county to raise taxes. Like many local government leaders, he wonders if what the governor did is legal.
The Kansas Association of Counties and the League of Cities say a 1982 Kansas Attorney General's advisory opinion states the governor cannot block such payments. Local government leaders say they do not have time to waste on legal action and are developing plans to cope with the a financial loss.
A spokesperson for the Kansas Attorney General says the 1982 opinion is not binding.
The Kansas Association of Counties plans to meet with the Kansas League of Municipalities over the next couple weeks to decide what to do.