Higher ed – Gov. Sam Brownback toured many of the state’s colleges and universities recently, telling supporters that holding higher education funding steady is essential to Kansas’ economy. Colleges are full of smart people, however, and the mixed message of Brownback’s tour escaped no one. Had the governor not signed reckless income-tax cuts into law, higher education might well be looking at increased funding this year. And even as he calls upon the Legislature to hold the budgets steady, Brownback has made it known he wants to cut income taxes further.
Kansas City Star
Legal fees – The Kansas attorney general has gone to the Legislature with a large tin cup, asking for another $1.2 million to defend potential legal challenges to laws enacted this year. The request is a relative drop in the bucket compared with the $745 million funding gap facing the state, but it’s still discouraging to see state dollars being requested to hire outside attorneys to defend legal challenges the office warned certain legislative actions would face, and perhaps fail.
The sheer volume of legislation passed and signed by the governor this session paints an image of a state that has pulled out all the stops to expand the scope and role of government into the everyday lives of Kansans. Some of the legislation, however, is so questionable and unnecessary that the Attorney General’s Office is requesting a $1.2 million increase to its two-year budget because of the anticipated need to defend legislation in court. Those laws were drafted, passed and signed as a way to give life to the radical ideology of a group of politicians who view Kansas as fertile ground for a grand experiment, with the state’s taxpayers as the financiers.
Gun permits – Gun owners who are up in arms about the backlog of applications for concealed-carry permits sitting in the Kansas Attorney General’s Office should exercise some patience. The situation, at this point, is beyond Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s control, and there’s no indication he isn’t doing all he can to process concealed-carry applications as quickly as possible. To suggest Schmidt, who has a long record of supporting the Second Amendment, should fall from grace among gun-rights supporters because he can’t process an overload of applications in a short amount of time is ridiculous.
Tax revenue – State revenue in April was $42 million higher than in April of last year. Revenue for the first three months of this year was about the same as for the same period last year. Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan says these reports show the state’s economy is growing as a result of last year’s income-tax cuts. Hardly. Much of the revenues were based on income earned before the cuts took effect. It is too early to use 2013 revenue collection figures to justify Gov. Sam Brownback’s bold – many say reckless – income-tax cuts.
Winfield Daily Courier