State budget – After the Legislature approved deep income tax cuts that took effect in 2013, revenues have plunged. In recent days, Gov. Sam Brownback and others have tried to obfuscate this fiscal disaster. Focus on what happened when Brownback and a bipartisan group of top lawmakers agreed to borrow $675 million to cover bills early in the 2015 fiscal year, starting July 1. That’s a huge leap from the $300 million borrowed in June 2013 to pay the current fiscal year’s bills. Borrowing more money is bad, right? That’s what Brownback emphasized in a statement last year on this very topic. But now that the situation has dramatically reversed, Brownback isn’t emphasizing the costs and risks tied to such a large amount of borrowing. Instead, the governor returned to his unsupported claims, repeating his upbeat view of the Kansas economy, despite the harsh facts staring Kansans in the face.
If we were to ask people to name the past three Kansas secretaries of state, we might get a lot of blank stares. There’s a reason for that. The secretary of state has little reason to be in the news. Unless you’re the current Kansas secretary of state, Kris Kobach, in which case you’re in the news a lot. That’s because Kobach has spent years gallivanting around the country and keeping himself in the headlines while raising the phony issue of illegal immigrant voter fraud.