Tax cuts – “We wanted to devise a fairer, flatter tax system that would grow our economy,” Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, said. “And people like what we’re doing.” Some people, perhaps. Certainly, the lobbyists for the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity and like-minded groups are pleased. But what is fair about a tax system that exempts the owners of certain types of businesses from paying any state income taxes, while most workers pay income taxes and higher sales taxes? And there is no evidence the income tax cuts are growing the economy. The latest national jobs report shows Kansas trailing 44 other states and the District of Columbia in the rate of nonfarm job creation in the first four months of 2015.
The aim of the income tax cuts was not to improve the state. It was to line the pockets of the wealthy – just do the math, then take a look around. Any “prosperity” group that runs a propaganda campaign saying otherwise is simply pulling the gilded wool over the public’s eyes.
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Civil service – Thanks to House Bill 2391, recently signed into law by Gov. Sam Brownback, the Legislature has accomplished something it has long hoped to achieve: removing the civil-service-style protections for state employees. Those prevent state employees from being embroiled in changing political environments while trying to execute the functions of their jobs. That’s not how the current ruling party in Topeka would like it. In its ideal world, anyone who pulls a paycheck from the state must carefully follow the doctrines set out by those in charge − with no room for dissent or disagreement with the majority.
Kobach powers – Recent legislation clears the way for Secretary of State Kris Kobach to prosecute election fraud from his office, yet-another poor move from state lawmakers who’ve bought into Kobach’s bogus claim of voter fraud involving illegal immigrants. Unfortunately, such legislative pursuits in recent years only contributed to the ultraconservative’s quest to suppress the vote.
While it’s appropriate for the Secretary of State’s Office to identify alleged cases of voter fraud, the decision whether to pursue those cases should be up to the state and local prosecutors who have been elected specifically to make such decisions.
Prosecutorial powers for the secretary of state? Kris Kobach is ambitious and dangerous. His exploitation of undocumented immigrants for political gain should be seen clearly by now. Gov. Sam Brownback has a heart for the disenfranchised, and he understands the need in Kansas for immigrant workers. The governor should screw up his courage and veto this outrageous bill.
There’s never been any evidence of rampant voter fraud in Kansas. This is pure, political theater for publicity hog Kris Kobach. Secretary of state is not a high-profile office, but Kobach continues to try to make it so to further himself politically. Still, let Kobach have his power. When he doesn’t find much to prosecute, his claim of voter fraud will be exposed for the phony campaign it is.