Kansas Democrats

Kansas and Texas schools, according to Kansas Democrats

As Kansas Republicans look to Texas as a role model for Kansas to follow, defenders of high levels of school spending in Kansas characterize Texas schools as inferior to Kansas schools. A recent tweet from the Kansas Democratic Party read "Fun Texas Fact #6 for @govsambrownback: 28% of TX 4th graders read proficiently, 39th nationally. KS = 36%, 12th. #ksleg #KansasIsNotTexas" Fun Texas Fact #6 for @govsambrownback: 28% of TX 4th graders read proficiently, 39th nationally. KS = 36%, 12th. #ksleg #KansasIsNotTexas— KS Democratic Party (@KansasDems) January 18, 2013 Superficially, it looks like the Kansas Democrats might be right. Scores…
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Reaction to Kansas State of the State Address, 2013

Governor Sam Brownback delivered his State of the State Address on January 15, 2013. The as-prepared text of the address may be read here. Americans for Prosperity-Kansas: "Americans for Prosperity-Kansas continues to support the eventual elimination of the income tax in Kansas, and we applaud Gov. Brownback for making this a priority in 2013"” said AFP-Kansas state director Derrick Sontag. "We would support a trigger mechanism for future rate reductions in the proposal rather than legislators continuing to seek a reduction in the rate every year. "We have no doubt that continued reductions in the income tax rate will help…
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Kansas Republicans don’t need to do this

In elections, campaigns may divert from useful discussions of the issues to engage in mudslinging and innuendo. Both parties do it, but an example from the Kansas Republican Party crosses a line and may actually hurt the candidate it was intended to help. The mail piece targets Keith Humphrey, a Democrat challenging incumbent Republican Mike Petersen for a spot in the Kansas Senate. As described in Wichita Eagle reporting, "Democratic Senate candidate Keith Humphrey ... said the Kansas Republican Party should apologize for an ad it sent to voters that questions why he changed his name and raised questions about…
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Kansas Democrats mailing again, and wrong again

It's campaign season, and mail pieces are flying fast, replete with more Kansas Democratic errors. Examples come from two mailers from the Kansas Democratic Party targeting Joseph Scapa, a one-term Republican incumbent seeking to return to the House or Representatives. Here's one: "SCAPA voted for the largest cut to school funding in Kansas history -- schools are closing, class sizes are increasing and fees are going up on parents. Sub HB 2014 (HJ 5/12/11, p. 1570)" This is a repeat of a mistaken claim made on other anti-Scapa mailings, for which Kansas Democrats have apologized. Here's something from another ant-Scapa…
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Kansas Democrats wrong on school spending

While the Kansas Democratic Party apologized last week for misstating candidates' voting record on two mail pieces, the party and its candidates continue a campaign of misinformation regarding spending on Kansas public schools. Many of the allegations are made against Kansas Governor Sam Brownback for purportedly cutting school spending. An example is on the Kansas Democratic Party Facebook page, which can be seen nearby. As part of the party's website, on a page titled Restore Education Funding, Kansas Democrats make this claim: An Education Fact Between FY2008-2009 and FY2011-2012, general state aid to education was cut by nearly $400 million.…
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Kansas Democrats mail in error

A mailing by the Kansas Democratic Party citing the voting record of a Kansas House of Representatives candidate holds not only the usual hyperbole and spin, but also a factual error. The mailing targets Joseph Scapa, a Republican running for re-election after serving his first term. The Democratic mailing criticizes Scapa for a vote made on the 2011 budget, claiming Scapa's vote will harm schools. It also makes the usual claim about conservative Republicans -- that they are merely rubberstamps for Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. Excerpt from mailing from Kansas Democratic Party, incorrectly referring to a vote by Joseph Scapa.…
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Looking for Kansas school efficiency, sort of

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback started an online Kansas school efficiency task force inefficiency form. In response, Kansas House Democrats have launched a Kansas K12 efficiency survey. The Democratic survey contains a few loaded questions that are sure to influence the responses received. For example: "Please describe - as specifically as possible - how the reduction of state public education funding has impacted you, your child, or your school directly (larger class sizes, higher fees, higher property taxes, eliminated programs, fired teachers, etc)." First: Spending on schools in Kansas has fallen some in recent years, but just a little bit, as…
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Kansas unemployment, the credit or blame

The unemployment rate in Kansas dropped from 6.2 percent to 5.9 percent in September. Before figuring who to credit for this, we ought to take a look at the underlying trends. KS unemployment rate dropped to 5.9% in Sept. lowest rate since Dec. '08. #ksleg #ksgov dol.ks.gov/LMIS/NewsRelea…— Sam Brownback (@govsambrownback) October 19, 2012 Kansas Governor Sam Brownback was quick to take credit, issuing the tweet "KS unemployment rate dropped to 5.9% in Sept. lowest rate since Dec. '08." Thank you, @barackobama RT @govsambrownback: KS unemployment rate dropped to 5.9%, lowest rate since Dec. '08. #ksleg dol.ks.gov/LMIS/NewsRelea…— Jason Perkey (@jasonperkey) October…
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Charges of slashing Kansas school spending

Kansas Democrats are making claims on campaign mailers that don't withstand scrutiny. An example is this: "Under the Brownback plan, funding for education has been slashed and local governments are being forced to make up the shortfall by raising property taxes on working and middle class Kansans. (The Wichita Eagle. 7/18/12)" Let's look at the record of spending in Kansas schools. Here's a chart: Kansas school spending per student through 2012. Does this look like school spending has been "slashed?" It's true that a component of school spending known as "base state aid per pupil" was cut, although it's rising…
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Kansas spending is the problem

While Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has some good ideas in his State of the State address and tax reform plan, there are two important points that need to be made. First, the governor has said that tax reform is designed to be revenue neutral. That goal means that if one person pays less, someone else has to pay more. It also means that the state's thirst for spending is not quenched. It is continued spending that prevents us from dramatically reducing or eliminating income tax rates in Kansas. Critics of lowering income tax rates point to the advantages that states…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Wednesday January 11, 2012

A legislator would do this? In his At The Rail column, Kansas statehouse reporter Martin Hawver speculates that even routine procedural votes, as well as votes in committee, may be material for campaign ads and mailers in this election year. "You’ve seen the mailings in election years, you know, the ones with a photo of a few lines apparently ripped from the official journal of the House or Senate. The scrap is always tilted a bit to make it more visually interesting. And, by gosh, that bit of an official document almost always shows -- usually with a swipe of…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday December 6, 2010

Cato scholar to speak on economic freedom. Friday's meeting (December 10) of the Wichita Pachyderm Club features noted Cato Institute scholar, Principal Attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation, and author Timothy Sandefur. He will discuss his recent book The Right to Earn a Living: Economic Freedom and the Law. A description of the book at Amazon.com reads: "America's founders thought the right to earn a living was so basic and obvious that it didn't need to be mentioned in the Bill of Rights. Yet today that right is burdened by a wide array of government rules and regulations that play…
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Kansas Democrats described as ‘imploding’

Larry J. Sabato, who is director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, is a respected national political analyst who publishes Sabato's Crystal Ball, an informative look at campaigns and races around the country. In the most recent issue Sabato takes a look at 2010 gubernatorial races and concludes that "There’s now no question that the gubernatorial turnover in November will be historic." He estimates that Republicans will add six or seven states to the count of those states with Republican governors. In Kansas, Sabato is pointed in his criticism of Kansas Democrats and Governor Mark Parkinson: Kansas: Gov.…
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Tillman story may leave wrong impression of Wichita tea party

The Wichita Eagle news story Democrat Tillman enters race for 4th District seat may give its readers an incorrect impression of the Wichita tea party protest held on tax day. In the story, the reporter quotes Robert Tillman as saying "Confederate flags (were) flown at the Republican tea party." The first half of this statement is true, but hardly indicative of the sentiment of tea party protesters. I have about 360 photographs that I took at the tea party. Looking at them, I saw one confederate flag. I called Robert Tillman, the subject of the story and whose quote appears…
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