Brownback – The people have spoken. Voters in Kansas re-elected Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday. Now Kansans will have to live with his “red state experiment” for four more years. The governor – and the Legislature – will have to live with the budget shortfalls and state spending cuts that his Democratic opponent, Paul Davis, and many others predicted. At this point we have to hope the governor’s experiment will work.
Getting re-elected Kansas governor was always going to be the easy part for Sam Brownback, and there was nothing easy about his win Tuesday over Democrat challenger Paul Davis. Now he faces a couple of problems that will make it much more difficult to govern, and these are problems of his own making. The first is the state’s finances. A related problem, and not entirely of Brownback’s making, is that the results of yet another school funding lawsuit await. With the state going backward on revenue because of Brownback’s tax cuts, where will it find the money if the courts order it to spend millions more on K-12 education?
With electioneering over, now is the time for Gov. Sam Brownback to perform in a manner that merits the respect of all Kansans, to set high goals for the state and its residents, work cooperatively and respectfully with those in the Legislature, and put together four years of positive, productive and constructive leadership. If some of his plans are not working out, he shouldn’t hesitate to modify or change his course.
Election nights usually end with congratulations, but Republican Sam Brownback’s razor-thin victory in Kansas calls out for a caution. Brownback should not interpret Tuesday’s results as a mandate for his “red state model” of governance. Instead, he should see his close call as a message to change course. The governor has to stop pretending that he can continue to cut taxes for the wealthy and still fund schools and universities adequately.
State revenues have been falling behind expectations for months and will throw state budgets out of balance without some corrective action. Gov. Sam Brownback won’t have to reach across party lines to find the votes for the remedy he chooses – Republicans remain in firm control of the Kansas House and Senate – but the task he faces isn’t an easy one.
Roberts – Maybe Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., was right to focus his campaign on President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., despite the disconnect with independent Senate candidate Greg Orman. Voters around the country appeared to make a statement about Reid’s incompetent leadership by handing Senate control solidly to Republicans. Alas, Orman was the true anti-establishment candidate.
Bond vote – In Ellis USD 388, school officials will need some help formulating the future of the district. For the second year in a row, voters overwhelmingly shot down a bond issue that was desperately needed to deal with deteriorating buildings and facilities. Staff and administrators now are backed into a corner as they attempt to continue educating children in safe facilities. There will be no rescue from the state. Re-electing Gov. Sam Brownback and the solid majority of conservative legislators allows them to continue depriving school districts of needed funding.