GOP address – Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback recently delivered the weekly Republican address. Unfortunately, some of what he said was exaggerated or misleading. Like this: “The year I became governor, the state began the fiscal year with just $876.05 in the bank – less than $1,000 and it projected a $500 million deficit. Two years later we had a $500 million ending balance – and did it without tax increases.” Not exactly. What lifted Kansas out of its hole was a 1-cent sales tax that Democratic Gov. Mark Parkinson signed into law and that took effect in July 2010. Brownback has benefited from that tax increase his entire term. He also is lobbying the Legislature to keep it in place, even though part of it is supposed to expire this July.
Kansas City Star
Gun filibuster – Shame on U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran. The two Kansas lawmakers opposed bringing a gun bill to the floor for an up-or-down vote. They put their concern over future primary challenges ahead of this opportunity for the Senate to take a step to curb future mass gun murders.
Winfield Daily Courier
Concealed guns – Kansas lawmakers recently passed ill-conceived legislation that would let people carry concealed firearms into more public buildings, and prevent federal agents from confiscating weapons made in the state. Neither would improve public safety. Encouraging people to brings guns into courthouses, city halls or other public places where emotions may run high is a disturbing proposition.
Garden City Telegram
Turnpike – A limited merger of the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Kansas Turnpike Authority appears to fit the needs of those who championed linking the two agencies while comforting those who feared the proposal was designed to steer turnpike revenues into other coffers. Given the success of both agencies and the fact each has plenty to keep it busy, there seemed to be little reason to meddle with something like a full merger. But if there are efficiencies to be found and savings to be reaped, the limited merger now allows that to happen.
Local control – For a crop of lawmakers who go on and on about the evils of big government and edicts from Washington, they sure like to big-foot cities and counties to impose their ideology. The latest example is the Senate’s attempt to ban cities and counties from adopting prevailing-wage laws. The brand of conservatism running roughshod in the Capitol today is really more about radical free-market ideology and Big Brother social policy than it is about local control and good governance. What’s further disheartening is that this approach too often, at least on the economic side, puts the bidding of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Koch Industries above the autonomy of communities that our state lawmakers represent.
Arkansas City Traveler