Kansas reasonable: The legacy

As campaigns for positions in the Kansas Legislature heat up, some are calling for voters to support candidates who will follow a tradition of “reasonableness” that, they say, is characteristic of successful Kansas politicians — the “traditional” Republicans.

Others call for a “balanced” approach to government and “responsible tax reform.” Senate President Steve Morris contributes an op-ed in support of “incumbent senators who put their local communities above the agendas of these special interest groups.”

Reasonable, balanced, responsible. These are words that promote a positive image, although sometimes negative words are used, as in criticism of Kansas tax reform as “reckless.”

So what is the record of the reasonable Kansas politicians? The first decade of this century was marked by a legislature and governors that were, well, reasonable. During this decade the Kansas economy performed poorly. A chart of the number of private sector jobs in Kansas as compared to a few surrounding states over the past eleven years shows Kansas at or near the bottom. (Kansas is the thick black line. Data is indexed so that all states start at the same relative position.)

The record of Kansas government policies has not been one we can be proud of. It is not reasonable, balanced, or responsible to continue with the policies that caused this lost decade. Kansans need to support candidates who will vote in favor of economic freedom, which is the key to jobs and prosperity for Kansas. The Kansas Economic Freedom Index is a resource that voters can use to learn more about incumbent candidates and how they voted on issues of economic freedom.

Kansas private sector job growth compared to other statesKansas private sector job growth compared to other states. Data is indexed, with January 2001 equal to 1. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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