Governor Spells Out Plans For 2009

By: Lindsay Shively Email
By: Lindsay Shively Email

As 2008 winds down, there's no time to waste planning for 2009. That's just what Governor Kathleen Sebelius has been doing. She discussed her plans. Plus she'll answer rumors she's headed to Washington.

Amid speculation she'd be joining the new presidential administration Governor Kathleen Sebelius says it could be a few years down the road.

"I'm pretty optimistic Obama will be president for eight years. I haven't closed any doors past 2010 but I'm not really focused on that right now," she says.

What she is focused on...the challenges facing Kansas in the year ahead, including a state budget facing an at least $141 million deficit.

Sebelius says her priorities are education and services that care for children, the disabled, and the elderly.

"I'm not a believer in cross-the-board cuts. I'd rather do the hard work. Budgets aren't about dollars, but priorities."

And she says the global economic troubles spread past the budget and hurt in other ways like development of Kansas casinos. She says the international recession were part of the reason some companies withdrew their casino proposals, but she believes they'll be back.

Something else coming back, a new energy bill and possibly a debate over a new coal-fired power plants.

"Building two new coal plants makes less sense this year thank it did last year." That debate meant three vetoes from Sebelius. This time, she's looking for a more comprehensive plan that includes renewable energy options.

"Last year everything was tied to Holcomb and virtually nothing got done," she says. "That's not a very effective way to spend 90 days."

Here's what she's hoping will make it more efficient. She says she won't rely on a federal stimulus package to ease economic woes, though she's certain one will come.

"I'll really give the legislature on day one a balanced budget for 2009 & 2010 using resources we have for the state."

She says its not all bad news. She called winning the National Bio and Ag Defense Facility in Manhattan "a big win".


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