The last two years in Topeka have been tumultuous at times, but I am pleased to report that after the long hours of debate and the difficulties we faced, Kansas is in better shape than it was before, and I am optimistic about the road forward. The key factor in remaining hopeful is that we hold firm this fall in supporting conservative candidates at the ballot box.
The state's budget funds the state for the rest of FY 2016 and FY 2017. Even though the news media is casting an extremely negative view on the state's finances, the state brought in $124 million more in revenues this year than last, and the Legislature reduced expenditures by over $50 million. Public safety and caring for the state's most vulnerable citizens continue to be the top priority as core services of government.
It is noteworthy that we finished this session in just 71 days, the shortest legislative session since 1974. While the 2015 session was long due to the debate over budget and taxes, this year proved we can get our work done quickly and efficiently, saving the taxpayer over $1 million in the process.
The legislative process can be very frustrating, when 165 legislators and one governor each have different ideas on how to craft solutions for the challenges facing our state. With the added pressure of distortions from the news media and special interest groups, some of whom wield much influence, it is often a wonder how anything is accomplished in Topeka - yet an honest view of the past few years would demonstrate a great deal of success, even if much work remains.