AP: Kansas budget director offers resignation

3/10/2013

WICHITA (AP) — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's budget director said he offered his resignation after supplying Brownback with an incorrect figure that led the Republican governor to make erroneous claims about state spending under his Democratic predecessor.

WICHITA (AP) — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's budget director said he offered his resignation after supplying Brownback with an incorrect figure that led the Republican governor to make erroneous claims about state spending under his Democratic predecessor.

Budget Director Steve Anderson said Friday that he offered his resignation after the $2 billion error on a spreadsheet found its way into a chart the governor used to claim credit for spending cuts that never happened, The Wichita Eagle reported.

Brownback declined to accept the resignation.

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.

Relying on the mistaken figure, Brownback used a Power Point chart to suggest total state spending had declined significantly since he took office in January 2011. While total spending is lower now than it was two years ago, it's still 2.6 percent higher under the current, fiscal 2013 budget.

than it was under the fiscal 2010 budget.

Anderson said the erroneous spreadsheet was produced before he took office and he never saw it, but he felt he needed to take responsibility.

"Appropriately, I offered the governor my resignation and even more appropriately, I offered every citizen of the state an apology," Anderson said.

The error was revealed in a Feb. 17 Wichita Eagle story that also questioned the Brownback administration's calculation of school funding spent on classroom instruction.

After the error came to light, Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said the Brownback administration has "been fast and loose with the numbers since, well, ever since their administration started."

Anderson said he has taken steps to prevent similar errors and that he's established a policy of personally reviewing all spreadsheets before they go to the governor's office.

He also said he originally intended to return to private accounting soon, but now plans to remain as budget director for "as long as the governor wishes me to be there."

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

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