State Budget Director Apologizes For Inaccurate Figures

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Gov. Sam Brownback's budget director issued an apology Monday for errors in budget numbers the governor recently used.

A Wichita Eagle article called into question Brownback blaming the previous administration for a $2 billion spending hike that didn't happen and spending cuts he didn't make.

Brownback has also stated publicly that only 54 percent of the money Kansas spends on education finds its way into the classroom, rather than the nearly 62 percent the state reports to the federal government.

In a statement Monday, budget director Steve Anderson said a mistake in a 2010 entry was the problem.

The error showed total state spending peaking at $16 billion during the state's 2010 fiscal year, under Democratic Gov. Mark Parkinson. The actual spending for fiscal 2010 was about $14 billion.

Anderson apologized for not catching the incorrect information sooner.

Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce, a conservative Hutchinson Republican and a Brownback ally, didn't see the mistake as significant. He said legislators rely for information not only on the Budget Division but the Department of Revenue and their own research staff, so mistakes get caught.

"We've dealt with people giving us bad numbers in the past, and usually, the other two agencies end up figuring it out at some point," Bruce said. "It's up to the Legislature to do their due diligence and reconcile those issues."

But House Minority Leader Paul Davis, a Lawrence Democrat, said the latest mistake is part of a pattern in which the administration has provided misleading information to the public.

"I think there is the pattern from this administration of trying to make numbers fit whatever their end policy goal happens to be," Davis said. "My level of trust in the information that's being provided to us is certainly waning."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

News release from the Governor's Office:
Kansas Budget Director Steve Anderson issued the following statement today regarding erroneous budget numbers used recently by Gov. Sam Brownback.

“The Kansas Office of the Budget maintains internal records documenting the rolling expenditures of the State of Kansas. The spreadsheet is updated regularly to record the most recent information. Upon review, we have discovered a mistake in a 2010 entry which was the source of the error passed along by the budget office to Governor Brownback’s office. We should have caught the incorrect information but we did not. I apologize to Gov. Brownback and the citizens of Kansas for this error,” Director Anderson said.

Anderson said the internal spreadsheet has been corrected and the error was not included in the budgets submitted by Gov. Brownback.