A couple of weeks ago I reported that the House had completed the budget and sent it to the Senate for their adjustments. Well, the senate worked on the budget last week and, as is typical of the senate, they got hung up on a few little things and pulled an all-nighter working them out. When the smoke cleared at 4:00 A.M. Thursday morning, Senator Schaffer threw everybody a curveball! It wasn't just a curveball, it was low and outside! His version of the portion of the Budget that includes Health and Senior Services, Social Services, Mental Health and Children's Service to name a few, are all in one lump sum with a cut of $300 million dollars. The idea is for the budget to have one whopping sum of money allocated to ALL of the departments and they just kind of go grab what they need. Do you see any holes in that theory? Does it sound like there needs to be a little more work on this plan? The procedure now is for the Senate version to be returned to the House with their changes and the two bodies go into conference to work out their differences. The House budget people were a little dazed on Thursday, but they were working on plans to return to the House version by Thursday evening.
Out of the cold blue on Friday, a letter from the Governor was sent to all members of the General assembly. He stated that the $300 million dollars in cuts by the Senate were unnecessary. He contends that the State is showing signs of growth so he is adding $80 million to his budget projections and coupled with the $70 million created by tax amnesty, and the federal matching funds, we have made up the $300 million dollar shortage. I'm telling you, you just can't make this stuff up! We will be spending all week working this mess out, so stay tuned for next weeks report. The good news is that we will get it worked out and the necessary funding will get where it needs to be but we sure could have done without all the drama and finger pointing that go along with it.
Over-reach of the Federal Government hit close to home last week with the ruling by the E.P.A. that Empire District Electric wouldn't be allowed to buy power from Kansas wind farms to meet the requirement for renewable energy. Their stand is that Empire must use the wind energy in Missouri to meet requirements. Where do these people come from? All this ruling accomplishes is to raise energy prices for customers of Empire, whether they be individuals or other Co Ops. I guess when Kansas hits their 15% they can just shut down the wind farms. When you hear candidates talking about excessive government regulations, this is what they mean!
We went out to Mustangs Alley Friday night for the yearly fundraiser for the White Rock Fire Department. We had a great meal and Jamie Cope did a super job of running the auction. Saturday night was the Historical Society Benefit Dinner at River Ranch. There were over 150 people there to support the effort to restore the old courthouse. As usual, the Poyner's did a great job with the meal and their facility is really terrific. There was a silent and live auction and a great time was had by all.