Brownback – We’ve spilled quite a bit of ink over the wisdom of Gov. Sam Brownback’s income tax cuts, but we’ve never accused the governor of being ignorant. While we assume that he didn’t believe that cutting income taxes would take the state into a ditch, we also assume that he’s stayed on top of the numbers, dismal though they may be. Brownback says we’re wrong. He says he is ignorant. He said he learned of the depth of the state’s financial problems only after the latest revenue numbers came out, shortly after the Nov. 4 election. He might not have known the exact numbers, but surely he had to have an idea that trouble was coming. Others have been sounding the alarm for months. Nope. Never saw it coming, Brownback says.
Gov. Sam Brownback says that before the election, he didn’t know there was a massive budget deficit projected for Kansas. If that’s true, he’s about the only one in Kansas who didn’t know it.
House leaders – There was a time when the farms and towns along the High Plains carried a significant amount of weight in the Kansas Legislature. But after last week’s leadership election in the Kansas House of Representatives, it’s clear that the state’s political power rests in the east. That doesn’t bode well for rural schools, rural roads, rural development or anything that might help stem the tide of population loss in the western half of the state.
The Legislature needs visionary leaders willing to encourage intelligent debate and cooperation in solving problems specific to Kansas – not more blind followers of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s cookie-cutter plan for a national, ultraconservative utopia coveted by the Koch brothers. Yet with the election of House leaders, that’s what we have, and it’s no better with Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita.
Moving elections – Kansas legislators once again are studying different options for moving local city and school board elections from the spring. Their stated goal is to increase voter turnout for those elections. Turnout for local elections admittedly is deplorably low, but all of the proposals being considered would create more problems than they would solve.
ACA – When asked at a recent town hall meeting about yet another attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, said: “I think we need to replace it. But the problem I have is: What are we going to replace it with?” What, indeed? Even though various Republicans have hinted at having different approaches, none has ever made it to the floor let alone received a vote. We don’t believe any will surface even with the GOP having majorities in both houses.