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The unprecedented campaign against free speech

The unprecedented campaign against free speech

The political left's campaign to silence opponents and reorder society in accordance with their personal beliefs is in many ways the single greatest threat to America's experiment in self-governance, writes Mark Holden. The unprecedented campaign against free speech By Mark Holden. Originally published in The Hill. The liberal Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once warned of the biggest danger facing free speech: "If you have no doubt of your premises or your power, and want a certain result with all your heart, you naturally express your wishes in law, and sweep away all opposition." Yet many lawmakers today are…
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Kansas state school board member should practice what he preaches

Kansas state school board member should practice what he preaches

By Dave Trabert, Kansas Policy Institute. District 9 Kansas State School Board member Jim Porter published the following piece outlining what he considers to be deceptive statements about school funding and state taxes. He urges political leaders to “tell the whole story” but doesn’t practice what he preaches, as we found a dozen deceptive statements in his piece. We are consistently hearing from those political leaders who are resisting what many of us consider to be the adequate funding of education that Schools are receiving more state support than ever and that support is increasing every year. Typically they say…
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HB 2615 is a Bi-Partisan Healthcare Solution that Governor Sam Brownback should Support

By Andrew Brown, Foundation for Government Accountability This site recently published an extensive critique of HB 2615, a bill that would protect doctors and health care professionals providing free charity care and reward them with a minor licensing incentive, and the author encouraged Gov. Brownback to veto the bill. Mr. Weeks has graciously allowed me, as a supporter who worked on behalf of HB 2615, to issue a response to his article. I truly appreciate the opportunity to present another side. I agree that we do need to reconsider and reform occupational licensure across the board and we absolutely should…
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Governor Brownback, please veto this harmful bill

Governor Brownback, please veto this harmful bill

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback should veto a bill that is harmful to property rights, writes John Todd. For more about this issue, see Power of Kansas cities to take property may be expanded. Senate Bill 338 has been passed by the Legislature and is now on its way for Governor Sam Brownback to consider. The Governor should veto this bill. This bill gives cities, in conjunction with their preferred nonprofit organizations, the ability to take possession of unoccupied residential houses that the property taxes are currently paid in full. This bill will clearly place vulnerable senior citizens and less affluent…
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Math quiz on Kansas spending

Math quiz on Kansas spending

The average Kansan is misinformed regarding Kansas school spending, and Kansas news media are to blame, writes Paul Waggoner of Hutchinson. Math Quiz on Kansas Spending By Paul Waggoner Math questions, one would think, are very straight-forward and easy to answer. At least easy to guess the right answer in a simple multiple choice test. Such is not the case however with the average Kansan who follows state issues relying on the headlines in the Kansas press. The reality of how poor a job the Kansas press is doing with numbers is found in a December 2015 SurveyUSA study of…
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CBPP pushes political viewpoint as economic analysis

CBPP pushes political viewpoint as economic analysis

The Center on Budget & Policy Priorities (CBPP) is at it again, pushing their political viewpoint disguised as economic analysis, writes Dave Trabert of Kansas Policy Institute. CBPP pushes political viewpoint as economic analysis By Dave Trabert, Kansas Policy Institute Well, the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities (CBPP) is at it again ... pushing their political viewpoint disguised as economic analysis. CBPP’s November 30 blog post attempts to use Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data to warn other states that Kansas’ tax reform is failing. CBPP’s simplistic look at annual changes in GDP seems merely designed to support their political…
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Kansas school funding growing faster than inflation

Kansas school funding growing faster than inflation

Kansas school funding has been growing much faster inflation and enrollment, but for some, it will never be enough, and they will continue to use taxpayer money to press their monetary demands, writes Dave Trabert of Kansas Policy Institute. Even by KASB standards, school operating spending is $3.9 billion ahead of inflation By Dave Trabert A recent blog post by the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) Associate Executive Director Mark Tallman says "Total school district funding is, in fact, at an all-time high, expected to top $6.1 billion this year" but "... the part of school funding available for…
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Federal rules serve as ‘worms’ buried in promises of ‘free money’

Federal rules serve as ‘worms’ buried in promises of ‘free money’

An often unappreciated mechanism throughout the Kansas budget severely limits the ability of legislators and governors to adapt to changing state priorities. A new paper from Kansas Policy Institute explains. Federal Rules Serve as "Worms" Buried in Promises of "Free Money" Mandates remove state control of budgets, exemplify increasing federal overreach July 30, 2015 -- Wichita -- An often unappreciated mechanism throughout the Kansas budget severely limits the ability of legislators and governors to adapt to changing state priorities. These Maintenance of Effort (MOE) requirements are highlighted in a new paper by Kansas Policy Institute and is authored by former…
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Release the secret Iran deals

For those of us who are elected officials, few votes will be more consequential than whether to approve or disapprove the nuclear agreement President Obama has reached with Iran. Yet the president expects Congress to cast this vote without the administration’s fully disclosing the contents of the deal to the American people, write Representative Mike Pompeo and Senator Tom Cotton. Release the Secret Iran Deals By Tom Cotton and Mike Pompeo As printed in the Wall Street Journal For those of us who are elected officials, few votes will be more consequential than whether to approve or disapprove the nuclear…
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Public radio ignores facts, pushes rhetoric on Kansas school funding

A Kansas radio news reporter seems not to care about reporting facts about Kansas school spending. Dave Trabert of Kansas Policy Institute reports. Public radio ignores facts, pushes rhetoric on school funding By Dave Trabert The latest attempt to undermine Kansas tax reform comes from KCUR-FM and National Public Radio: “Huge income tax cuts have led to ... shrinking classroom budgets for public schools.” That statement might make a captivating movie ad but the film would be classified as fiction. The Kansas Department of Education says school funding last declined by 0.045% in the 2011 school year and has increased…
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Examining a Kansas school district election

In its campaign to convince voters to raise taxes, the Auburn-Washburn school district deceives voters. David Dorsey explains. Eight reasons why the Auburn-Washburn (USD 437) LOB election increase is a ruse By David Dorsey, Kansas Policy Institute Auburn-Washburn USD 437 is in the midst of a Local Option Budget (LOB) election, asking district voters to approve an up-to three mill increase in their taxing authority. As part of the effort to convince us to support their request, I received, along with every other USD 437 resident, a propaganda card via USPS last week. The card (of which I have provided both…
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Examining Kansas City school district claims

Examining Kansas City school district claims

A critical look at the statements coming from one of the largest school districts in Kansas leads to wonder if the Kansas City school superintendent is uninformed, misinformed, or simply lying. Dave Trabert of Kansas Policy Institute reports. USD 500 Kansas City misleads on school funding and budget claims By Dave Trabert, Kansas Policy Institute At a time when many school districts are issuing misleading statements about school funding to parents, teachers and legislators, recent claims by USD 500 Kansas City set a new transparency low. A story in the Kansas City Star outlined the district’s plans to reduce spending,…
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Kansas cuts taxes and expands the economy

Kansas cuts taxes and expands the economy

Ernie Goss is Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics and Professor of Economics at Creighton University and an expert on the Midwest economy. Following is his assessment of the Kansas economy in recent years. The full report is here. Kansas Cuts Taxes and Expands the Economy: Earnings Growth Four Times That of U.S. and Neighbors Since Passage From the Mainstreet Economy Report, Creighton University, October 2014. In 2012, Kansas Governor Brownback pushed the Legislature to whack individual tax rates by 25%, to repeal the tax on sole proprietorships, and to increase the standard deduction. In 2013, the Legislature cut…
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Kansas Center for Economic Growth: Show us the math

Kansas Center for Economic Growth: Show us the math

Why won't Kansas Center for Economic Growth show its calculations and explain its data sources? Dave Trabert of Kansas Policy Institute explains. KCEG misleads on job growth -- again By Dave Trabert The latest misleading claim on job growth from the Kansas Center for Economic Growth is loaded with misleading and irrelevant information; they don’t fully disclose their methodology and at this writing they have ignored our request to explain it. Sadly, this is not the first, second or even third time that KCEG has published misleading information and declined to produce documentation. Here are the questions we posed to…
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In Topeka, to raise taxes, scare the voters

The Topeka public school district is using scare tactics to persuade voters to raise taxes. David Dorsey of Kansas Policy Institute explains. Topeka schools use scare tactics to justify LOB election By David Dorsey The USD 501 school board voted unanimously on April 29 to hold an election to increase the district’s local option budget (LOB). They claim the $3 million that could be raised with voter approval is necessary “in the face of state budget cuts.”  The district held three public meetings to discuss how to deal with what they called a $1.6 million cut in state funding this…
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Kansas state aid to schools is increasing

The top school finance official in Kansas says that says that state aid for schools has risen for the current year. From Kansas Policy Institute. KSDE confirms that state aid to schools is increasing this year By Dave Trabert While some school districts and special interests claim state aid to schools is declining this year, Kansas State Department of Education Deputy Commissioner for Finance Dale Dennis confirms that state aid to schools is increasing. KSDE published spreadsheets comparing block grant equivalent funding for the 2013-14 school year with block grant funding for this year and the next two school years.…
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Political perspective masquerades as ‘documentary’

Political perspective masquerades as ‘documentary’

From Kansas Policy Institute. Political perspective masquerades as ‘documentary’ By Dave Trabert “Where the Buffaloed Roam -- An Ode to the Kansas Budget,” a film by Louisburg High School student Carson Tappan, is being featured at the Kansas City Film Festival.  It is billed as a "documentary" but in reality, it merely presents a political viewpoint that doesn’t let facts get in the way of the story it wants to tell. Mr. Tappan is to be commended for tackling the project and it is heartening to see a high school student take an interest in state budget issues. He deserves…
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Kansas Center for Economic Growth: Short on facts again

The Kansas Center for Economic Growth’s latest scare tactic on education funding is filled with demonstrably inaccurate data which they use to make false claims about tax reform and the efficacy of education spending, writes David Dorsey of Kansas Policy Institute. KCEG won’t document their false claims on education funding -- again By David Dorsey The Kansas Center for Economic Growth’s latest scare tactic on education funding is filled with demonstrably inaccurate data which they use to make false claims about tax reform and the efficacy of education spending. KCEG has a long history of making inaccurate claims and declining…
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School employment data shows gaps in reporting and wide variations among districts

School employment data shows gaps in reporting and wide variations among districts

Kansas school districts vary widely in employment ratios, and that's not counting the unreported employees, writes David Dorsey of Kansas Policy Institute. School employment data shows gaps in reporting and wide variations among districts By David Dorsey Kansas Policy Institute has created a state public education employment metrics report for FY 2014 and the file can be accessed here. The file contains employment totals and also five categories of pupil-per-employee ratios. Here are some highlights and analysis. Pupils per classroom teacher The employment metrics file shows considerable variation among the districts when it comes to the number of pupils per…
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Kansas conservatives call for repeal of death penalty

Kansas conservatives call for repeal of death penalty

From Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty. Kansas Conservatives Call for Repeal of Death Penalty TOPEKA, Kan. -- Today at the Capitol, Representative Bill Sutton, R–Gardner, joined a group of conservative leaders calling for support of HB 2129. This bill would replace the death penalty in Kansas with life in prison without the possibility of parole. Their case is straightforward: the death penalty is at odds with core conservative values -- a commitment to fiscal responsibility, limited government, and valuing life. “There are millions of dollars spent on trials and appeals and we have nothing to show for it,” said…
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