Utility rates – If you’re a resident or small business owner in Kansas, you should be alarmed by the disdain with which you’re viewed by the state’s utilities. During a time when much of the state’s residents and businesses are struggling to stay afloat, utilities such as Kansas Gas Service and Westar Energy view you as an endless supply of cash they can use to ensure guaranteed payouts for executives and shareholders. Furthermore, Kansans simply should not stand for the notion that energy companies have a state-guaranteed right to baseline revenue. The utility companies are counting on the historically utility-friendly Kansas Corporation Commission to help them extort money from consumers to keep profits at optimum levels – regardless of how much product they actually sell.
In the run-up to the election, a far-right faction of the Republican Party led by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity, wealthy Koch brothers and Gov. Sam Brownback unleashed a flurry of negative ads intended to take down anyone who would dare challenge their agenda, Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, included. Sadly, many voters fell for such outlandish claims as the absurd notion that moderate state senators somehow supported so-called “Obamacare.” Now, with Senate moderates pushed aside and both legislative chambers controlled by ultraconservative Republicans, we’re left to brace for renewed attacks on education, social services and other programs.