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Kansas can have fast, achievable savings

Kansas Senator Chris Steineger (Democrat from Kansas City) has formulated a list of items that he says could lead to “fast, achievable savings” for the state of Kansas. This list is titled the “$100 million list.” Some of the items have cost savings given, and some don’t.

In particular, the idea of selling state-owned office buildings is appealing. Steineger showed me preliminary research that showed that the “rent” the state charges agencies is more expensive than private office space in downtown Topeka. The revenue from selling the buildings is a one-time boost, but the reduced operating expense is ongoing.

Here’s Steineger’s list:

  1. Sell and lease-back of State office buildings: Docking, Landon, Eisenhower, Curtis, and Dillon House could be sold to professional real estate companies who can perform renovations
    cheaper and faster than the State. Sale and lease back offers four advantages:

    • immediate cash payment for buildings;
    • any remodeling can be done by private owner FASTER and CHEAPER than the State;
    • most office buildings in USA are privately owned; and
    • sale could generate $100 million.
  2. Eliminate $5 million state-subsidy for air fares in Wichita. Let free market work!
  3. Eliminate State purchases of water rights in government owned reservoirs.
  4. Eliminate construction of more “weather monitoring” stations.
  5. Eliminate state owned buffalo herds. ($50,000)
  6. Eliminate state aid to cities and counties which will incentivize unification.
  7. Eliminate transfer of state alcohol tax to cities’ general fund and recreation fund. ($18 million)
  8. Eliminate all future state aid for school bond and interest and technology.
  9. Reduce Leadership pay by one-half for one year & limit voucher days to 12. ($100,000)
  10. Eliminate Leadership office budget surplus carryover.
    ($138,000)

  11. Reduce by one-half the Leadership Office budget for one year. ($710,000)
  12. Reduce Leadership mail franking to same as rank and file legislator.
  13. Reduce funding for Kansas Bio-Science Authority.
  14. Reduce by one-half funding for KU Cancer Center and order Legislative Post Audit of expenditures since inception.
  15. Renegotiate State building and property insurance for lower rates.
  16. Consolidate all functions of probation and parole in Kansas. A computer tracking system currently in the design stage will greatly facilitate such an efficiency merger.
  17. Consolidate all regulatory and licensing functions of racing, gaming, and bingo.
  18. Consolidate and simplify all alcohol regulation, including cereal malt beverage.
  19. Consolidate into the Department of Agriculture: Livestock Commission, Conservation Commission, Water Office, and Geological Survey. A 2007 Post Audit concludes this will save $700,000 year: www.kslegislature.org/postaudit/audits perform/Q8pa23.pdf.
  20. Consolidate into one agency: Bank Commission, Credit Union Office, and Securities Commissioner. A 2008 Post Audit concludes this will save $500,000 year: www.kslegislature.org/postaudit/audits perform/08pa22.pdf.
  21. Go another step further and consolidate all of the above with Insurance Dept. and create one, streamlined financial regulatory agency.
  22. Consolidate all state housing programs into Kansas Housing Resources Corporation.
  23. Consolidate all early childhood programs (Tiny-K, Head Start, Early Head Start, Parents as Teachers, Smart Start, Healthy Start, Kansas Preschool Program) at State Board of Education.
  24. Consolidate KTEC, MAMTC, KS Inc, per Post Audit.
  25. Consolidate Kansas Turnpike Authority and KDOT.
  26. Capitol restoration — exempt from sales tax. ($8 million)
  27. Capitol restoration — delay build out of basement level visitors’ center. Install doors and lights only to make it a minimally functional space. It would be like an unfinished basement under someone’s home: dry, lighted and usable, but bare concrete.
  28. Auction Governor’s silver Chevy Suburban, which is parked in lower level of parking garage and seldom driven. ($25,000)
  29. Increase premiums and co-pays for state employee health insurance AND create large discounts for those who choose healthy living habits such as tobacco avoidance, healthy weight, and annual checkups.
  30. Allow Kansas Department of Corrections to pay hospitals at Medicaid rates.
  31. Obtain fair market value of the state owned business known as KU Hospital. If the Legislature is a board of directors for the state, then we have a fiduciary duty to have some idea of what our assets are worth.
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6 Comments

  1. concerned March 12, 2010

    So you found a rogue Democrat who is running for a state office to come forward with a “plan” that might attract RW voters.

    Big Deal.

    Steinegar is just trying to court the RW with this nutjob idea.

    The next we’ll hear is that this plan has true bipartisan support.

    When will you Reagan worshipping nutjobs realize that your Voodoo economics theory doesn’t work.

  2. Mike March 12, 2010

    Hi

    I strongly object to number 1. The state of Illinois pulled that trick about 5 years ago and they’re still 13 billion in the red, $495 million just to the University of Illinois alone. I haven’ resesarched WHY it didn’t work but the whole concept so selling something you already own, so you can rent it is just STUPID.

    I do think we should sell all of the state casinos too. Gambling is not something a decent governmental body should be running. If it’s so wonderful, lets start state run bordellos, crack houses, etc.

    later

    Mike

  3. Dismal Scientist March 12, 2010

    Number 1 is a bad idea. We should sell all state run casinos. Overall this plan is GOLD Jerry, GOLD! I am really surprised that a Demorat is saying this but good for him!

  4. KipSchroeder March 18, 2010

    Democrat or Republican it matters not to me…good ideas are good ideas. Many of these suggestions are common sense and represent measures that we as individuals take periodically to reduce our personal expenditures.

    4,5 & 8. Reduce or stop buying items that aren’t absolutely necessary
    15. Shop for lower insurance coverage
    27. Delaying the remodeling of our homes
    28. Selling an unused vehicle
    29. Reviewing health insurance options during “open enrollment”

    If more governing leaders treated the vast amount of confiscated money (taxes) as their personal wealth we wouldn’t be struggling to this degree. Frankly this recession has an upside – it is forcing out the waste and excess.

  5. Caleb Hays April 20, 2010

    While I don’t agree with everything in this list, I’m happy to see that ideas like this are being discussed.

    We need to promote the development of any ideas that target government waste. It may sound elementary, but that’s what brainstorming is all about- afterwards, we can eliminate those we deem unworkable.

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