Job losses – Last November, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed Kansas had reached a postrecession high in total nonfarm employment with 1,384,900 jobs. But in the report ending in May, the number had fallen to 1,383,300, or a loss of 1,600 jobs. While that’s a small sum, Kansas was one of only five states in the nation to shed employment over that time. All of Kansas’ neighbors have done far better since November, led by Colorado (up 41,000 jobs), Missouri (up 15,400) and Oklahoma (up 13,800). In addition, Kansas continues to trail the national average and almost all close-by states in the percentage of total job gains since early 2011, when Gov. Sam Brownback took office. These disturbing facts further undermine the contention by Brownback and other Republicans that the deep income tax cuts they approved in 2012 would act as a job magnet for the state. That hasn’t happened, even while the lower rates have slashed tax revenues far more than once estimated.
Kansas City Star
Suspended voters – In Reno County, 477 people remain on the suspended voter registration list, most of whom still need to produce additional identification verifying residency. Statewide, more than 18,000 voter registrations have been suspended. The Kobach crowd has consumed the idea that the need to protect the public from a nonexistent threat of voter fraud is worth jeopardizing for 18,000 Kansans one of the most basic and fundamental rights outlined in the U.S. Constitution. And somehow, they think that misguided notion makes them more patriotic and more American than those who seek to expand, rather than restrict, the right of Kansans to vote in open and public elections.
Kobach-Schodorf – A recent poll showed Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach leading his Democratic challenger, Jean Schodorf, by 47 to 41 percent. For Kobach, this is far too close for comfort. Schodorf’s best campaign asset is Kobach himself. Aloof, always right and blithely arrogant about his exploitation of the office of secretary of state, Kobach’s appeal is wearing thin. All he really has going for himself is his war on the molehill of illegal immigrant voting. He is beginning to look like a not-so-benign Don Quixote. Kobach is really about voter suppression, and Schodorf is reminding voters of this.
Winfield Daily Courier
Kansas Chamber – Count the Garden City Area Chamber of Commerce among those choosing not to be affiliated with the Kansas Chamber. The local chamber and others understandably don’t see their own mission – one of helping local businesses grow and flourish – aligning with a Kansas Chamber that claims to be a business advocate, but instead sides with operations interested in hindering certain economic development initiatives as a way to feather their own nest.
Garden City Telegram
Same-sex marriage – The fight for equality that extends to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community is reaching the final phase. Even a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court will not be able to allow such blatant discrimination to continue. We eagerly await the day when all adults, regardless of whom they choose for a partner, can legally marry in Kansas. That day will arrive sooner than even we expected – even if it is much later than it should have been.
Hays Daily News