Mark Parkinson

Under Goossen, Left’s favorite expert, Kansas was admonished by Securities and Exchange Commission

Under Goossen, Left’s favorite expert, Kansas was admonished by Securities and Exchange Commission

The State of Kansas was ordered to take remedial action to correct material omissions in the state's financial statements prepared under the leadership of Duane Goossen. During the administration of Governor Mark Parkinson, the State of Kansas issued eight series of bonds raising $273 million. Regarding these, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has determined that the state failed to adequately inform investors of significant, material, negative information. In a nutshell, according to the SEC: The Kansas Public Employee Retirement System (KPERS) was in terrible financial condition compared to other states, and Kansas did not adequately disclose that to potential…
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Kansas school spending and achievement

Following, from Dr. Walt Chappell, a discussion of Kansas school spending. Chappell served on the Kansas State Board of Education from 2009 to 2012. The truth is, Governor Brownback and most Kansas legislators have worked hard to get more money into K-12 classrooms and have increased funding to educate our children each of the last four years. Claims that funds for schools have been cut, supposedly causing test scores to drop, schools to close, class sizes to go up and college tuition to increase are totally false. Yes, there was a large reduction of $419 million to fund Kansas schools…
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Beechcraft incentives a teachable moment for Wichita

Beechcraft incentives a teachable moment for Wichita

The case of Beechcraft and economic development incentives holds several lessons as Wichita considers a new tax with a portion devoted to incentives. In December 2010 Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson announced a deal whereby the state would pay millions to Hawker Beechcraft to keep the company in Kansas. The company had been considering a purported deal to move to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Since then the company underwent bankruptcy, emerged as Beechcraft, and has been acquired by Textron.) The money from the state was to be supplanted by grants from the City of Wichita and Sedgwick County. At the time, the…
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SEC orders Kansas to stop doing what it did under Sebelius and Parkinson

SEC orders Kansas to stop doing what it did under Sebelius and Parkinson

The Securities and Exchange Commission found that Kansas mislead bond investors. It ordered the state to implement reforms, which it has. According to a press release from the Securities and Exchange Commission, the State of Kansas "failed to disclose that the state’s pension system was significantly underfunded, and the unfunded pension liability created a repayment risk for investors in those bonds." This refers to a series of eight debt, or bond, issues in 2009 and 2010. Collectively they were worth $273 million. The SEC press release explains: According to the SEC’s order against Kansas, the series of bond offerings were…
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Women for Kansas voting guide should be read with caution

Women for Kansas voting guide should be read with caution

If voters are relying on a voter guide from Women for Kansas, they should consider the actual history of Kansas taxation and spending before voting. A political advocacy group known as Women for Kansas has produced a voting guide, listing the candidates that it prefers for Kansas House of Representatives. But by reading its "Primer on the Issues," we see that this group made its endorsements based on incorrect information. One claim the group makes is this regarding taxes in Kansas: "Income taxes were reduced for many Kansans in 2012 and 2013, and eliminated entirely for some, with a corresponding…
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Job growth in the states and Kansas

Job growth in the states and Kansas

Let's ask critics of current Kansas economic policy if they're satisfied with the Kansas of recent decades. Critics of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and his economic policies have pounced on slow job growth in Kansas as compared to other states. The nearby illustration shows private sector job growth in the states during the period of the Graves/Sebelius/Parkinson regimes. This trio occupied the governor's office from 1994 to 2011. Kansas is the dark line. At the end of this period, Kansas is just about in the middle of the states. But notice that early in this period, the line for Kansas…
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Two versions of the Kansas income tax cuts

Two versions of the Kansas income tax cuts

From Kansas Policy Institute. Two Versions of the Income Tax Cuts: The Media’s Story and Reality By Steve Anderson In January 2011, when I was first appointed State Budget Director, the state was on the verge of what appeared to be a financial meltdown. Under the previous administration, the first negative ending balance in state history had been allowed exist. Kansas was $27.6 million "in the hole" and this headline was on the front page of the Wichita Eagle “Shortfall for ’11 State Budget Tops $500 million." Much of the first six months was spent trying to not bounce checks and finding…
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Shortchanging Kansas schoolchildren, indeed

This month the New York Times published an editorial that advocates for more spending on Kansas public schools. While getting some facts wrong, the piece also overlooks the ways that Kansas schoolchildren are truly being shortchanged. Here's evidence supplied by the Times (Shortchanging Kansas Schoolchildren, October 13, 2013): "State spending on education has fallen an estimated 16.5 percent since 2008, including $500 million in cuts under the Brownback administration, resulting in teacher layoffs and larger class sizes." (Governor Brownback has responded to the editorial; see Kansas Governor responds to the Times.) The Times editorial board doesn't say how it calculated…
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Kansas school employment trends are not what you’d expect

Listening to Kansas school officials and legislators, you'd think that Kansas schools had very few teachers left, and that students were struggling in huge classes. But statistics from the state show that school employment has rebounded, both in terms of absolute numbers of teachers and certified employees, and the ratios of pupils to these employees. The story is not the same in every district. But considering the entire state, two trends emerge. For the past two years, the number of teachers employed in Kansas public schools has risen. Correspondingly, the pupil-teacher ratio has fallen. The trend for certified employees is…
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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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Dangers of texting while driving: Are laws the solution?

There's no doubt that texting while driving is dangerous, as illustrated in this KAKE Television news story. But the government solution -- passing laws against texting while driving -- haven't worked, and some states have experienced an increase in crashes after implementing texting bans. A news release from the Highway Loss Data Institute summarizes the finding of a study: "It's illegal to text while driving in most US states. Yet a new study by researchers at the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) finds no reductions in crashes after laws take effect that ban texting by all drivers. In fact, such…
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Kansas: business-friendly or capitalism-friendly?

Plans for the Kansas Republican Party to make Kansas government more friendly to business run the risk of creating false, or crony capitalism instead of an environment of genuine growth opportunity for all business. An example is the almost universally-praised deal to keep Hawker Beechcraft in Kansas. This deal follows the template of several other deals Kansas struck over the past few years, and outgoing Governor Mark Parkinson is proud of them. Incoming Governor Sam Brownback approved of the Hawker deal, and probably would have approved of the others. Locally, the City of Wichita uses heavy-handed intervention in the economy…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Thursday December 30, 2010

Kansas Meadowlark blog recast. Earl Glynn of Overland Park has reformed his Kansas Meadowlark site from a blog to a news site along the lines of the Drudge Report. Glynn's full-time job is working for Kansas Watchdog. Longwell site noted. A website supporting the candidacy of Wichita Vice Mayor Jeff Longwell for re-election to his current position has been spotted. Title: Vote for Jeff Longwell. Kansas legislative issues to watch. Fort Hays State University political science professor Chapman Rackaway lists the things to watch for in the upcoming session of the Kansas Legislature, which opens on January 10. Here's his…
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Wind power again reaps subsidy

The editorial page of the Wall Street Journal is at the forefront of letting Americans know just how bad an investment our country is making in wind power, as well as other forms of renewable energy. A recent Review and Outlook piece titled The Wind Subsidy Bubble: Green pork should be a GOP budget target holds these facts: The recent tax bill has a $3 billion grant for wind projects. The 2009 stimulus bill had $30 billion for wind. Wind power installations are way down from recent years. The 2008 stimulus bill forces taxpayers to pay 30% of a renewable…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Friday November 26, 2010

Bill Gates on school reform. Microsoft Chairman and founder Bill Gates, in an effort to help the states save money on schools, recently gave a speech, as reported by the New York Times: "He suggests they end teacher pay increases based on seniority and on master’s degrees, which he says are unrelated to teachers’ ability to raise student achievement. He also urges an end to efforts to reduce class sizes. Instead, he suggests rewarding the most effective teachers with higher pay for taking on larger classes or teaching in needy schools." This is a refreshing take on the issue of…
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