Kansas, Politics

Schmidt said in a statement that the decision “could effectively and immediately shut off all funding for the judicial branch.” [emphasis mine] Kansas attorney general says judge’s ruling may jeopardize funding for courts, The Wichita Eagle

Please tell me there comes a point where we as citizens recognize how incredibly corrupt and undemocratic this posturing by Brownback’s administration is and demand better. I would genuinely like to see someone defend the principle they’ve decided to deploy to coerce the judiciary into compliance with their plans.

Hat tip to:

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Our state senators went out, dug a grave, bought a casket, picked out a headstone, and now they’re cruising to the hospital with the top down to unplug us. Share to support your frustration with the unparalleled, unprecedented failure of the #ksleg113‬ day session.

Current Events, Kansas

SB270 Passes 21-19

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Current Events, Kansas, Politics

Budgeting for (by) Dummies

To this point, I haven’t said a whole lot about problems the legislature has been having struggling with our budget. There are a lot of voices in that chorus already anyway, and I don’t have too much to contribute that hasn’t been said. Though, I will say at least a couple things that I do think need said, if only to drive the issues home.

This starts with Furlough Friday. Which was, and now isn’t. The legislature avoided furloughs by… saying there won’t be furloughs. Let me be clear, I hate seeing my friends put into a tough position because of a furlough. BUT, that process is in place for a reason. It’s the line in the sand that forces our representatives to do their job in a timely manner. By lifting that threat, even temporarily, that’s a gift more for them than the workers. Keep in mind, while the bill authorized the employees to work, it does not authorize them to be paid. Because they can’t do that without the budget. So, they basically just told state workers to keep doing what they’re doing, for free, and they’ll get checks in the mail to them for that when they get around to it. And if those workers happen to be part of the university system, they can’t even openly discuss their concerns without fear for their jobs now, thanks, again, to the Kansas Legislature: Continue reading

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Current Events, Kansas, Politics

Hey look, we made Doonesbury!

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Kansas, Politics

Well, if there’s one thing we can count on here in Kansas, apparently it’s that if we have a problem in the state, we can just hide from it and it’ll go away. How do we fix problems if the legislature won’t even talk about them? I thought we elected leaders, not ostriches.

“The intention was to get the bill into conference so that Senate and House negotiators could work on crafting a final fix to the state’s $400 million budget hole.” Kansas House votes not to hold debate on tax plan; The Wichita Eagle

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Kansas, Politics

Though stopping short of fully admitting his tax-cut plan is failing Kansas, Brownback is attempting to patch our budget problems by raising taxes on alcohol and tobacco. But, this is again an example of ego getting in the way of making good policy, since sin taxes are inherently regressive in nature. As a result, if this passes, those already struggling in Kansas will suffer the worst, while the well-off will continue to be well-off. Plus, sin taxes are designed to try and discourage the sin. There are people that will quit smoking and decrease drinking, thereby negating gains. Not to mention that many populated areas like KC, Ft. Scott, and Pittsburg can easily border-hop to Missouri. Bottom line, we’re letting bad decisions lead to worse decisions.

Brownback wants to raise tobacco and alcohol taxes to help eliminate a projected shortfall of nearly $600 million in the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The state’s budget problems arose after lawmakers aggressively cut income taxes at Brownback’s urging in 2012 and 2013 to stimulate the economy. Kansas committee review bill to boost taxes, Topeka Capitol-Journal

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Highway to Hell

About a month before the election last year, Governor Sam Brownback made an announcement in Arma, KS that, at the time, I openly called bullshit on. It looked like a publicity stunt, and it smelled like a publicity stunt. His opponent, Paul Davis, even made an incredibly prescient statement that “the enhancement project could unravel if the Brownback administration withdrew funding from the state’s T-Works transportation program to fill budget gaps left by unexpected revenue shortfalls associated with the governor’s income tax cuts.”

The reason I said that, was because Crawford county has been begging for the completion of the 69 expansion for quite some time, and it’s also one of the largest Democrat concentrations outside of Lawrence, Kansas City, and Wichita. However, there’s been a very vocal debate over the issue from folks along 400 Highway. The timing of the announcement was far too convenient to be anything but pandering. As Davis worried, Brownback did exactly what was predicted in raiding the highway fund (though the administration has maintained that planned expansion projects won’t be impacted… for now). Continue reading

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