Here are highlights:
Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, members of the Kansas Legislature, and people of Kansas, it is with much pleasure and with a great sense of responsibility that I appear before this legislature and the people of Kansas to present my first legislative and budget message as Governor.
Every Governor assumes office under unique circumstances in times that claim their own character, challenges, and opportunities.
Today, we worry as a nation about conflict in the Middle East and the safety of our troops deployed there.
We worry and with cause about the economic recession, the growing numbers of homeless, the pervasive use of drugs, the quality of our environment, the national debt, and countless other concerns that affect the welfare of our people.
In Kansas, our State’s economy has struggled for much of the past decade and now appears to be likely following the national economy into recession.
We have serious financial problems in state government.
The 1990s, in short, are bringing their own brand of difficulty, but we have seen tough times before.
We have answered adversity with a unity of purpose and resolve that transcended our difference.
We have always emerged from tough times a stronger people.
We will do so again.
The message I deliver to you today is not mine alone.
It is a message first delivered last November by the people of Kansas.
The people of this state want meaningful property tax relief and a more equitable tax structure.
They want an end to unchecked growth in government and taxes.
They want their government to be open and their public servants to be responsible.
I am committed to achieving these goals while meeting the basic human needs of all the people of this state.
This is the people’s agenda.
It is my agenda.
I remain committed to the pursuit of tax reform that will provide relief and redress to the property taxpayer.
I remain firm in my belief that property tax relief should be achieved by closing tax loopholes, not by increasing tax rates.
I am prepared to take bold steps to achieve these goals.
I propose to continue the ambitious highway development program we embarked upon last year, and I propose to restore and continue the basic service programs of the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services to meet the fundamental needs of our people.
I urge you, the Legislature, to place these objectives at the top of your calendar and that together we produce results.
I will work with you.
I will be flexible in advising the best possible package to achieve the results I want, but the Kansas people have made it clear: They want action and they want it this year.
If there is to be a tenor, a tone, a trademark of the Finney Administration, it will be found in a return to the fundamental notion that in America, government is of the people, by the people, and for the people.
I reaffirm my commitment to this ideal by asking for your immediate consideration and approval of three Constitutional Amendments pertaining to public initiative and referendum.
As I have assumed responsibilities as Governor and constructed my first budget, I confirmed that the financial condition of Kansas State Government is not good.
In Kansas, our economy has struggled for much of the past decade, and now appears likely to follow the national economy into recession.
Currently, the State is on a course of deficit spending.
We can no longer turn to balances to cover excess spending.
The time has arrived when we must rethink, reexamine, and reorder our priorities and our concepts of what government should do and what government should be.
It is against these realities that I have prepared both a current resources budget to comply with the law and an additional budget that enables me to pursue the priorities and commitments I have made to the people of this state.
State government must recognize and value the dedication and skill in which its many of thousands of employees conduct the state’s business.
The package restores equity and fairness to our tax system.
They are now simply loopholes that must be closed in the best interest of good government and fair and equitable taxation.
As the people of Kansas know, it is not enough for the State to provide the money for property tax relief.
I encourage all Kansans to be vigilant and to keep close watch on the taxing and spending decisions of local governments.
They will have to use imagination and efficiency as alternatives to spending more money.
We have a job to do and limited resources with which to do it.
We will do what the times and the conditions require.
Despite our many problems, we must reserve our conscience and compassion with those who struggle with individual hardship.
Certain basic human needs of Kansans must be met.
I assure you, I have no interest in retreating from the values that make up a caring, enlightened society.
We will continue to invest in the welfare of our children, in the care of our sick and our elderly, in the reinforcement of family, and in the development of skills that lead to individual self-reliance.
Perhaps our best response to complex challenges in to remaining competitive in an increasingly sophisticated world is a well-educated citizenry.