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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Brownback highlights five goals for state's future

BY JEANNINE KORANDA
Eagle Topeka bureau

TOPEKA _ A state spending freeze, literacy, college-ready graduates and growing the state's economy and income levels top Republican gubernatorial nominee U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback's plan for Kansas' future.

While he plans to unveil more details of the plan throughout the month, Brownback highlighted five measurable goals that he promised his "Road Map for Kansas" would accomplish.

"These five points will have the greatest influence on growing the economy, reforming state government, enhancing the impact of our children's education experience and ultimately protecting the well-being of Kansas families," Brownback said.

The five goals are:

* Increase the state's net personal income.

* Increase private sector employment.

* Increase the percentage of fourth-grade students reading at their grade level.

* Increase the percentage of high school graduates who are college or career ready.

* Decrease the percentage of Kansas children living in poverty.

"These are the five dials that team Brownback will focus on moving forward," the senator told a crowd at a media event Monday.

Brownback also promised to implement an economic development plan that encourages free enterprise and bolsters small business as well as other sectors including agriculture, aviation and manufacturing.

If elected he also wanted to create a Citizens Regulator Review Board to look over any new regulations and an Office of the Repealer who will make specific recommendations on statues or regulations that could be eliminated.

Brownback also proposed an indefinite freeze on state general fund spending.

Dana Houle, campaign manager for state Sen. Tom Holland, the Democratic nominee for governor, downplayed Brownback's road map.

"This isn't a plan. Of course Kansans want to see increased income and higher reading scores among our students — who wouldn't?" asked Houle in a written statement. "What matters is how the next Governor plans to accomplish these goals. When somebody tells you they want to do something, but won't tell you 'how' they plan to do it, it should raise some serious red flags."

Houle suggested that Brownback's plan would result in cuts to public education.

The Holland campaign plans to create jobs by investing in education and work force training, he said.

"They will carefully manage the budget so that public safety and our most vulnerable Kansans are never put in jeopardy," he said. "And they will work in a bipartisan fashion to make government more efficient, transparent and responsive to Kansans."

Brownback will speak about his plan today at the Wichita Independent Business Association luncheon and on Wednesday is scheduled to embark on a four-day statewide tour where he is expected to discuss specifics on the plan.

Reach Jeannine Koranda at 785-296-3006 or jkoranda@wichitaeagle.com.

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