Opinion Columns & Blogs

State funds shouldn’t buy inaugural tickets


You’d expect state government officials to be on hand for a governor’s inaugural festivities – but not at public expense. Yet the Kansas Turnpike Authority, which is 95 percent funded by toll revenue and effectively merged with the Kansas Department of Transportation these days, spent $1,200 for a table for its top staffers to attend Gov. Sam Brownback’s inaugural party in January, according to the Kansas City Star. The KTA was the only state-related agency among the 217 contributors to the inaugural. Turnpike authority spokeswoman Rachel Bell called it a “legitimate business expense.” At some point the authority was reimbursed for the tickets of two spouses at the KTA table. But “if I was managing KTA, I certainly would not have done that,” said Sen. Jim Denning, R-Overland Park. The Star also reported that state-funded Washburn University spent $2,000 on the second inaugural for Gov. Kathleen Sebelius in 2006. – Rhonda Holman