Revenue drop – In last week’s most unsurprising news, the Kansas Department of Revenue announced that income tax collections again came in well below earlier estimates. For the fiscal year, Kansas has collected $21 million less in taxes than it expected – and built its budget on. And while that might translate into a handful of extra dollars in Kansans’ pockets, it’s not enough to drive the sort of economic growth Gov. Sam Brownback claims will sprout across the state. But it does mean that the 2015 Legislature will be forced to identify deep cuts to the state’s spending in order to balance the budget.
Kobach – A three-judge panel in Shawnee County District Court ruled that Secretary of State Kris Kobach had no grounds to intervene in a case involving the U.S. Senate race. Kobach had been working overtime to get a Democrat on the ballot to potentially dilute the voting strength of independent candidate Greg Orman, who is challenging incumbent GOP Sen. Pat Roberts. Kobach has a habit of intervening in controversial matters – like other states’ immigration laws. He also has a record of losing. The citizens of Kansas would be better served if their secretary of state worked on ensuring a smooth-running election instead of trying to interfere in one of its races.
Roberts – It’s getting downright disgusting to watch the national Republican Party, which has taken over Pat Roberts’ campaign, plead with Kansans to salvage their senator. He’s been ordered just to scream “Obama!” “Harry Reid!” “Hillary!” every few seconds to convince voters to back him. Voters, mind you, who are expected to check their brains at the polling place door. At least Roberts’ opponent is offering ideas.
Campaign ads – Political ads, by Republican and Democratic forces alike, are designed to sell a point of view or a particular candidate. Facts and truth often take a beating in the process, but there are plenty of sources available to anyone who wants to be well-informed on Election Day. The responsibility to vote includes a responsibility to be informed.
Deployment – Fort Riley troops are heading back to Iraq. As their friends and neighbors, we wish them the best and hope for their speedy return. As realists, we hope everyone sees what this deployment means. Regardless of the type of military conflict our nation enters, there’s always going to be a need for an army. Call them advisers or whatever, but if we’re serious about taking on an enemy force, it’s going to require men and women in fatigues on the ground at some point. To say otherwise is to either be naive or disingenuous.
KU football – With a record of six wins and 22 losses and no prospects for improvement in sight, University of Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger decided to try to cut his – and the Jayhawks’ – losses by sending head football coach Charlie Weis on his way. It was the right decision. The appointment of defensive coordinator Clint Bowen as interim coach may re-energize both the team and its fans for the remainder of the season. It’s possible, as Kansas State has shown, to turn a struggling football program around. It’s important that KU does its best to make that happen here.