Kansas Views (May 14)

Tax cuts – Kansans learned something last week about their governor. For Sam Brownback, the end justifies the means. The second-year Republican governor double-crossed leaders of the Kansas Senate, tossed legislative decorum into the gutter and carpet-bombed relationships throughout the Statehouse to move along a radical income-tax cut. He was aided by Republican House Speaker Mike O’Neal. In getting his way, however, Brownback has sacrificed something that up until now has mattered in Kansas. Trust.

Kansas City Star

The tax-cut bill was a clever piece of political maneuvering on the part of the governor and the (radical) conservatives in the Republican Party. It makes their rich patrons richer, prevents most of the state’s ending budget balance from being spent on public education, and leaves state government smaller. In addition, they forced sensible, moderate Republicans and Democrats to vote for or against a tax-cutting bill in an election year. These are considerable achievements, but they are political, not economic.

Winfield Daily Courier

Loyalty pledge – How many Republican candidates for the Kansas Senate and Kansas House of Representatives have signed and returned the loyalty pledges mailed their way last month by the Kansas Republican Party leadership? The trash can would be the proper receptacle for all of them, but it’s a good bet some have been signed and returned.

Topeka Capital-Journal

Voter fraud – In the past decade, fewer than 10 cases of election fraud involving attempts by noncitizens to vote have been reported in Kansas. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said his office last year turned up 32 instances in which noncitizens in Kansas were registered to vote. Whether the number is fewer than 10 or Kobach’s 32, it’s infinitesimal given that Kansas has 1.7 million registered voters. The greater voter fraud in Kansas involves the scare tactics Kobach and others are using to change laws to make it more difficult for the poor, the elderly and others to cast ballots. Their problem isn’t citizenship; it’s that they’ve been more likely over the years to vote for Democrats than Republicans.

Manhattan Mercury

Agenda 21 – During a week when most lawmakers were steely-eyed focused on the budget, redistricting and other important issues, three GOP House members took on the United Nations. During a hearing, they railed against a U.N. initiative that encourages use of “conservation, management and changing consumption patterns to promote sustainable development,” according to an Associated Press story. “This is the most aggressive attack on individual liberty and the foundations of our country we have ever seen,” said Rep. Dennis Hedke, R-Wichita, who was supported by the like-minded Rep. Greg Smith, R-Overland Park, and Rep. Forrest Knox, R-Altoona. The “most aggressive attack” ever? Really? Hedke’s comments are idiotic. The three House members have turned an innocuous U.N. initiative, which has sat on the shelf for 20 years, into a fearmongering diatribe.

Hutchinson News

BPI closing – It’s official: The Beef Products Inc. plant at Holcomb is closing. While the plant suspended operations in March in the wake of a smear campaign related to a beef product made by BPI, the hope was a push to educate the public on the truth regarding a product consumed safely for years would lead to the plant reopening. That didn’t happen, and now more than 230 people employed at the local BPI plant have lost their jobs.

Garden City Telegram