Kansas GOP – The Republican Party has been gone too long, and look what happened when party traditionalists gave up control to the people currently running the state. What we’re seeing now certainly isn’t the GOP Kansas held in highest esteem. Neither Dwight Eisenhower nor Bob Dole would make the cut in today’s party of Sam Brownback and Kris Kobach. Extreme is the only way to describe the party of Brownback and Kobach. A vote for them is not a vote for the Republican Party of Dole or Eisenhower, people who leave legacies that make us want to name buildings after them, rather than tear apart our social fabric. It’s time for Republicans to reclaim the Grand Old Party.
Welfare, poverty – The state government’s attempt to wean poor Kansans off public assistance is working, as long as you don’t bother examining poverty figures. Ignore those, and focus on demeaning ways of controlling the lives of citizens unfortunate enough to require welfare, and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is a rousing success.
Food sales tax – Despite bipartisan attempts to create a separate rate, food ended up being part of the controversial overall sales tax increase enacted last session to protect 2012 income tax cuts that mostly benefit upper-income Kansans. Kansas’ sales tax on food, when added to local taxes, can mean an increase of 9 percent to the grocery bill. That is believed to be the highest grocery tax in the nation. That’s an unconscionable distinction. Kansas needs a fairer tax structure that doesn’t penalize people for eating.
Medicaid expansion – Gov. Sam Brownback wanted to send a message to Washington, D.C., by refusing Medicaid expansion, but he sent a message to you, too: “Good luck, buddy. I care more about politics than I do about your health or your hospital.” Brownback rejected millions of dollars that could support rural health care providers. As a result, Kansas has one of the highest rates of potential hospital failures in the nation.
Voter fraud – Secretary of State Kris Kobach won’t waste time using his new power to try to prove voter fraud is a serious issue. It’s not, in spite of his claim of it occurring in Kansas and beyond. But that won’t keep Kobach, now unnecessarily armed with the ability to prosecute voter fraud, from his usual political grandstanding.
Suspended voters – It’s understandable that Secretary of State Kris Kobach would like to get rid of the list of about 31,000 would-be voters whose registrations are being held “in suspense” by his office, but the procedure and timing of his proposal to reduce that list aren’t acceptable. The voter registration system was sold to state legislators with the promise it would include a seamless system for verifying citizenship. Setting an arbitrary time limit to remove people from that list would reduce the list but not address basic defects in that system that are keeping qualified Kansas voters from exercising their constitutional right to cast a ballot.