State finances – Gov. Sam Brownback is misleading Kansans while ignoring some troubling realities. He trumpets a rebound in the state’s finances – even in the face of stunning declines in revenues. He repeats his mantra that deep tax cuts will grow the Kansas economy as part of a “Midwest renaissance” – even while other governors decline to follow that strategy. Brownback blames the Obama administration for recent revenue shortfalls – even though most states did a better job predicting their receipts this year. And Brownback continues to boast that Kansas has added 50,000 jobs since he became governor in 2011 – failing to acknowledge that Colorado, Oklahoma, Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri all have created jobs at a faster pace than Kansas.
Kansas City Star
Kansas Chamber – The Kansas Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee has published its annual list of candidate endorsements for Kansas House seats – candidates the chamber claims stand for the free market, limited government and pro-growth tax policies. In truth, however, those endorsements are little more than a list of potential lawmakers the state’s richest and most powerful lobbyist thinks it can influence and control in Topeka. With its list, the chamber hopes to seat or retain candidates who refuse to let the demands of a local constituency supersede the legislative agenda of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, which increasingly projects a sense of entitlement to own and operate the state of Kansas.
Suspended voters – For Kansans who thought the mess created by the state’s ill-conceived proof-of-citizenship requirement for new voters eventually soon would resolve itself, think again. At this point, there’s no end in sight, and prospects for improving the situation before this year’s elections seem slim. Less than two months from the August primary, most of the action concerning the state’s proof-of-citizenship law is centered in the courts, where Secretary of State Kris Kobach continues to press his case. Perhaps his time would be better spent trying to get more people off the “in suspense” list rather that fighting to put more people on it.
Due process – Everyone can agree that effective teachers help students succeed. But it doesn’t follow that removing tenure will cause teachers to be more effective. In fact, teachers argue that without the limited protection of tenure, they’ll be less likely to take creative chances and advocate for their students. Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, says a planned lawsuit by the teachers union proves that teachers are more concerned about their own jobs than their students. So how do teachers prove they care about their students? By Wagle’s reasoning, by rolling over and playing dead after being needlessly provoked.
Privatizing education – While much attention understandably has been devoted to the loss of due process, other aspects of the misguided school-finance legislation demand attention, such as tax breaks for corporations’ private school donations. Parents have every right to send their children to private schools, but not at the expense of the public school system. Siphoning any resources from K-12 hurts even more considering the long-standing interest of Gov. Sam Brownback and his GOP allies in slashing state financing for public schools. But such strategies are priorities for the American Legislative Exchange Council and its Koch-supported cronies, Americans for Prosperity, as part of their quest to privatize education.
Garden City Telegram