Saturday, February 13, 2016

Red State Irrational #1: Kansas Supreme Court says state schools will shutdown if Funding isn't restored.

A legal and political battle over the constitutional responsibility of the state of Kansas to fund public schools has exploded. But to me, it's more about the jaw dropping threats, disregard for the public good, hypocrisy and blatant projection that can't be ignored by the ruling  Republican Party.

What has fascinated me is how reckless and dictatorial these authoritarian bullies are. The shocking reaction below is so unsettling. This should scare the daylights out of every American. Here's what started the dismantling of anything resembling government in Kansas:
Brownback and the GOP-dominated Legislature already were facing a projected state-budget deficit of nearly $200 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The state has struggled to balance its budget since legislators slashed personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013, at Brownback's urging in an effort to stimulate the economy. Democratic leaders said one of the results has been inadequate spending on schools.
That's when the State Supreme Court stepped in...The New Yorker:
Kansas’s governor, Sam Brownback, had pointedly pressured Chief Justice Lawton Nuss and his colleagues on the state’s highest court. A trial court had found, “beyond any question,” that the state system of financing public schools was unconstitutional … and recently heard oral argument in an appeal of the ruling. Brownback claimed, “This is the people’s business, done by the people’s house.”
 This past December, the State Supreme Court ruled that the first of the retaliatory laws is unconstitutional … the ruling put in jeopardy all of the judiciary’s funding.

Last week, the legislature blinked, passing a bill that would reverse the defunding law. The bill is being hailed as a victory … but a short-lived one. Republicans have drafted bills calling for a system in which the governor would nominate and the State Senate would confirm justices. Republicans have also drafted bills calling for partisan election of justices. 
After Republicans threatened the Supreme Court, the justices fought back:
NY Times: The Kansas Supreme Court threatened Thursday to shut down schools if lawmakers don't revamp the way the state funds public schools by July, ruling that a law enacted last year as a temporary fix underfunded poor school districts by at least $54 million. The high court unanimously decided that the Republican-backed law violates the Kansas Constitution's requirement that the state finance a suitable education for every student. The court gave lawmakers just four months to devise another system for distributing more than $4 billion in state funding to 286 public schools.
Ready for the reaction? You won't  believer the out of control projection...
Kansas House Speaker Ray Merrick said the court was holding taxpayers and schoolchildren hostage. A fellow Republican, Sen. Jeff Melcher, called the decision a "temper tantrum. It's kind of one of those things, 'Give us the money, or the kid gets it.'"  

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback called it a ruling from an "activist" court but added, "We will review this decision closely and work with the Legislature to ensure the continued success of our great Kansas schools.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Surprise, surprise, a state that's even a bigger joke than Wisconsin.