Dear Commons Community,
The Kansas Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the state’s spending on public education was unconstitutionally low, dealing a blow to conservative Governor Sam Brownback, who is facing increasing resistance from his own Republican Party over his trademark tax-cutting doctrine. As reported by the New York Times:
“In a unanimous ruling, the court said black, Hispanic and poor students were especially harmed by the lack of funding, pointing to lagging test scores and graduation rates. The justices set a June 30 deadline for lawmakers to pass a new constitutional funding formula, sending them scrambling to find more money to pay for a solution.
This is the second time in about a year that Kansas’ highest court has ruled against the state’s approach to paying for schools, just as Mr. Brownback finds himself wrestling with growing budget deficits and as his relations with fellow Republicans have deteriorated to new lows.
Mr. Brownback, who has made cutting taxes and shrinking government the centerpiece of his administration since taking office in 2011, championed the largest tax cuts in state history, turning Kansas into a national testing ground for his staunchly conservative philosophy. But the state has since struggled with gaping deficits, and patience has run thin, even among some former allies.
Just last month, the Republican-dominated Legislature approved a tax increase that would have raised more than $1 billion to help narrow the budget gap — a bold rejection of Mr. Brownback’s vision. In the end, the governor vetoed the measure, and he barely survived an override attempt. The school funding ruling now adds yet another layer of fiscal trouble for Kansas and political tumult for Mr. Brownback.”
I think we will see more of this in states where cost-cutting policies are beginning to reduce public services to shambles.