It’s a little late now.

Two Kansas GOP Senate leaders recently criticized Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan to cope with a predicted $279 million budget shortfall for this fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Senate President Susan Wagle, of Wichita, said Brownback has put the Legislature in a “difficult position” with his plan that would, among other things, borrow money from the highway fund and divert money from public pensions. …

Senate Vice President Jeff King, of Independence, criticized Brownback’s plan for diverting $41 million from the state pension system to help cover the shortfall. He said the move would undo gains made in recent years to shore up the underfunded pension plan.

In the coming months, the Legislature will grapple with these and other funding issues as the state closes this year’s budget hole and tries to craft a 2016 budget, which the Legislative Research Department predicted will face a $436 million deficit. That is, until that number was increased to a whopping $648 million. Remember, in Kansas, we have to have a balanced budget, so we can’t borrow our way out of this mess.

Beyond that, the state could be hit with the results of yet another school funding lawsuit that would require it to spend millions more a year on public education.

The disappointing part about this financial calamity is that it was self-inflicted, and for the wrong reason. It would be understandable if Kansas had been limping along and Gov. Brownback had to try something, even a risky tax scheme he was warned wouldn’t work, to get the economy going. But that’s not what happened.

Brownback implemented his income tax cuts simply to further himself politically. And Wagle, King and others went along with it.

What we had when Brownback took office was a good state, struggling from the Great Recession, as were most other states, but basically fiscally sound. Now we’ve become a national laughingstock as we rob Peter to pay Paul. Wagle and King don’t like what the governor is doing? Well, who does?

The question is, where were they when Brownback’s tax cuts were passed and they were warned of what was coming?

— The Salina Journal