Tax revenues – Last year’s strong first-quarter tax collections – 53 percent above the previous year – were driven by taxpayers “realizing capital gains and other income in tax year 2012 to take advantage of more favorable federal tax rates set to expire Jan. 1, 2013.” That isn’t our assessment; that comes straight from the Kansas Department of Revenue. Since forecasters were aware of the boost, and its cause, not accounting for it in this year’s budget either was an oversight – or pure foolishness. There should be no surprise Kansas tax receipts are down 45 percent from last year.
Hays Daily News
FBI probe – When Gov. Sam Brownback vowed to change the nature of Kansas government, allegations of influence peddling and strong-armed tactics by key advisers were not what anyone had in mind. But the FBI reportedly is investigating whether Brownback’s longtime political operative, David Kensinger, and others traded their influence with the administration for personal gain. The governor’s political team wielded a big stick and gained a great deal of power from the 2012 legislative elections. If key operatives have been using that power improperly, they should be called out and stopped.
Kansas City Star
It doesn’t take an FBI agent to see the abusive power structure that has landed in Topeka under Gov. Sam Brownback. Any Kansan who has been paying attention can see what the FBI is reportedly searching to uncover. This administration has a suspect track record when it comes to the strategic placement of its friends and allies. Worse still, this administration has planted in Kansas the Machiavellian politics that dominate Washington, D.C. – a system in which lobbyist influence is normalized and industrialized as part of the political process.
Health care compact – Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed legislation that makes Kansas part of an interstate compact with eight other states that want to regulate their own health insurance systems. If the compact is approved by the U.S. Congress, the states would be allowed to break away from the Affordable Care Act and the federal Medicare system and replace them with state-administered programs. State lawmakers wanted to send a message to Washington about the ACA. Maybe state residents now should send a message of their own to state lawmakers who want to dump the federal health insurance and Medicare programs without having a specific plan for how to replace them.
McConnell – McConnell Air Force Base, its personnel and residents of Wichita received some great news when the U.S. Air Force gave its final approval to McConnell as the home of the new KC-46A air refueling tanker. We extend congratulations to McConnell, which will continue to play a vital role in the nation’s military defense system for decades to come, and Wichita, which gets an economic boost from the military presence in the community.
Dole – Bob Dole is a Republican who long represented a red, white and blue America – not a red state or a blue state. This “Greatest Generation” soldier and disabled veteran spent years in Congress working diligently within his party and with Democrats for the well-being of all fellow citizens. Kansas Republican leaders today should take a cue from Dole’s exemplary record of civic duty that upheld the party’s once-appropriate nickname, the Grand Old Party.