Sam Brownback

Governor Brownback steps up for property rights

Governor Brownback steps up for property rights

Today Kansas Governor Sam Brownback vetoed Senate Bill 338. As explained by John Todd, this bill unnecessarily and dangerously increased the power of cities over private property rights. Thank you to the governor for understanding the harm of this bill and acting appropriately. Most of all, thank you to John Todd for recognizing the bill's danger, for his committee testimony, and for his tireless work in helping inform the governor and his staff about this bill. Following, the governor's veto message: The right to private property serves as a central pillar of the American constitutional tradition. It has long been…
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Kansas support for higher education

How does Kansas state support for higher education compare to other states? In the Wichita Eagle, Chapman Rackaway contributes a satirical look at Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and his handling of Kansas government. And, the governor deserves many of Rackaway's jabs. But there is something that needs clarification, which is the contention that Kansas is a backwater state when it comes to higher education funding, at least compared to Washington state. (Chapman Rackaway: How about Brownback as K-State president?, April 8, 2016.) Rackaway writes: "That Washington State could pay [departing Kansas State University president Kirk] Schulz so much more is…
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Opinion: GOP economics devastated Kansas

An op-ed on the Kansas economy needs context and correction. An op-ed about the Kansas economy needs a few corrections before the people of Illinois get a wrong impression of Kansas. The article is Opinion: GOP economics devastated Kansas, published in the Alton (Illinois) Telegraph. The author is John J. Dunphy. First, Dunphy refers to Sam Brownback as the "Tea Party" governor of Kansas. As far as I know, the tea party favors reducing not only taxation, but spending too. Given the choice, Brownback preferred raising taxes rather than cutting spending. Not very tea party-like. Dunphy: "Moderate Republicans who voiced…
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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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Kansas transportation bonds economics worse than told

Kansas transportation bonds economics worse than told

The economic details of a semi-secret sale of bonds by the State of Kansas are worse than what's been reported. The late realization last year that the Kansas Department of Transportation had issued $400 million in long-term bonds -- largely under the radar -- has been met with appropriate levels of indignation by some editorial writers. An example is Dr. Edward Flentje who wrote: Right-wing Republican lawmakers have operated under the radar to suspend all statutory limits on highway debt, and that unprecedented authority was recently used to issue record-breaking levels of long-term debt to pay for their reckless income…
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This is why we must eliminate defined-benefit public pensions

This is why we must eliminate defined-benefit public pensions

Actions considered by the Kansas Legislature demonstrate -- again -- that governments are not capable of managing defined-benefit pension plans. The Kansas Legislature is considering a bill that will allow Governor Sam Brownback to defer making payments to KPERS, the state's defined-benefit pension system for public employees. The deferred payments would be made up in future years, although there is really no mechanism to enforce this. Also, the bill considers eliminating the requirement that when the state sells surplus property, that 80 percent must be used to reduce the unfunded actuarial pension liability of KPERS. There is also a moratorium…
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Spending and taxing in Kansas

Spending and taxing in Kansas

Difficulty balancing the Kansas budget is different from, and has not caused, widespread spending cuts. Across the state Kansas newspapers declare Governor Sam Brownback's tax cuts a failure. There are two prongs of criticism. One is that the budget is not balanced; that is, the state is spending more than it has received in revenue. That has been true, especially for fiscal years 2014 and 2015. That problem can be fixed by either collecting more revenue, or by cutting spending. Last year the Governor and the Legislature decided to balance the budget by relying, almost entirely, on collecting more revenue.…
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Brownback and Obama stimulus plans

Brownback and Obama stimulus plans

There are useful lessons we can learn from the criticism of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, including how easy it is to ignore inconvenient lessons of history. It's been three years since the tax cuts in Kansas took effect; tax cuts said by Governor Brownback to be a "shot in the arm" for the Kansas economy. Opponents of the governor and the tax cuts take great delight in reporting the generally anemic growth of the Kansas economy since then. Month after month, the tax cuts are condemned by Kansas newspaper editorial writers and the governor's detractors. I don't think it's a…
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Kansas NAEP scores for 2015

Kansas NAEP scores for 2015

Reactions to the release of National Assessment of Educational Progress scores for Kansas and the nation. Also, an interactive visualization. Results for the 2015 administration of the National Assessment of Educational Progress became available October 28. The test, sometimes called the "nation's report card," is described as "the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subject areas." The Wichita Eagle didn't have much to say on this, reporting "Results from the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress show that Kansas scores dropped in most areas since 2013, state education officials announced…
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The Kansas economy and agriculture

The Kansas economy and agriculture

There's no need for Kansas state government to exaggerate the value of agriculture to the Kansas economy. A recent press release from the office of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback quoted the governor thusly: "Agriculture is our largest economic driver, bringing more than $63 billion into the Kansas economy." (Governor Sam Brownback visits will reinforce the importance of Kansas agriculture, August 17, 2015.) $63 billion is a lot of output. It's about 43 percent of the Kansas economy. A document supplied by the Kansas Department of Agriculture provides more detail: "As shown in the above table, agriculture, food, and food processing…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: Radio show host Joseph Ashby

WichitaLiberty.TV: Radio show host Joseph Ashby

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Radio talk show host Joseph Ashby joins host Bob Weeks to discuss his interview with Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, the end of the legislative session, and Republican presidential candidates. Episode 87, broadcast June 21, 2015. View below, or click here to view at YouTube.
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Kansas public school establishment ought to thank Sam Brownback

Kansas public school establishment ought to thank Sam Brownback

Kansas public schools ought to thank the governor and legislature for failing to give parents the power of school choice. The public school establishment in Kansas is angry with the governor and legislature over school finance. Really, the public schools ought to be grateful for Governor Sam Brownback. In many states with conservative Republican governors, school choice programs have grown. In the summer of 2011 the Wall Street Journal reported on what it called “The Year of School Choice.” Some governors have been warriors for school choice. Not Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, however. He signed a small school choice bill…
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Brownback derangement syndrome on display

A newspaper op-ed illustrates some of the muddled thinking of Kansas newspaper editorialists, not to mention Brownback derangement syndrome. Recent discussion about restricting the ability to spend welfare benefits has lead one newspaper editorialist to compare elected politicians with welfare recipients. The writer is Dave Helling of the Kansas City Star, and his target is Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. Attempting to paint the governor as a government-paid freeloader, Helling wrote: "He’s earned his living from taxpayers almost all his life. He’s worked in state government, the U.S. House and U.S. Senate and now as governor, where he earns around $100,000…
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Kansas school employees, the trend

Kansas school employees, the trend

The trend in Kansas public school employment and teacher/pupil ratios may surprise you, given the narrative presented by public schools. "More students, but fewer teachers -- Since 2009, Kansas schools have gained more than 19,000 students but have 665 fewer teachers." (Quality at Risk: Impact of Education Cuts, Kansas Center for Economic Growth) "Class sizes have increased, teachers and staff members have been laid off." (What’s the Matter With Kansas’ Schools?, New York Times) This is typical of the sentiment in Kansas -- that there are fewer teachers since Sam Brownback became governor, and that class sizes have exploded. Below…
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STAR bonds in Kansas

STAR bonds in Kansas

The Kansas STAR bonds program provides a mechanism for spending by autopilot, without specific appropriation by the legislature. Under the State of Kansas STAR bonds program, cities sell bonds and turn over the proceeds to a developer of a project. As bond payments become due, incremental sales tax revenue make the payments. It's only the increment in sales tax that is eligible to be diverted to bond payments. This increment is calculated by first determining a base level of sales for the district. Then, as new development comes online -- or as sales rise at existing merchants -- the increased…
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Kansas Democratic Party income tax reckoning

Kansas Democratic Party income tax reckoning

A story told to generate sympathy for working mothers at the expense of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is based on arithmetic that is not plausible. In the response to the State of the State Address, Senator Anthony Hensley told a tale of woe. He said, according to the printed remarks "Take for example the single mother who works full time and lives within her means, but still struggles to provide for her family." That's someone we can empathize with. And, someone who is a key Democratic Party constituent. Here's the burden she faced under Brownback's tax plan, according to Hensley:…
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Kansas school teacher cuts, student ratios

Kansas school teacher cuts, student ratios

What has been the trend in Kansas school employment and pupil-teacher ratio? "More students, but fewer teachers -- Since 2009, Kansas schools have gained more than 19,000 students but have 665 fewer teachers." (Quality at Risk: Impact of Education Cuts, Kansas Center for Economic Growth) "Class sizes have increased, teachers and staff members have been laid off." (What’s the Matter With Kansas’ Schools?, New York Times) This is typical of the sentiment in Kansas -- that there are fewer teachers since Sam Brownback became governor, and that class sizes have exploded. Here's the data, fresh from Kansas State Department of…
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Governor vote in Sedgwick County, November 4, 2014

Here’s a map I created of the vote percentage Governor Sam Brownback received by precinct. To use an interactive version of this map, click here. On the interactive map you may zoom and scroll, and you may click on a precinct for more information about the votes for that precinct.
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Elections in Kansas: Federal offices

Elections in Kansas: Federal offices

Kansas Republican primary voters made two good decisions this week. Kansas held primary elections this week. The primary election, of course, does not determine who wins the office; it only selects one Democratic and one Republican candidate to move forward to the November general election. But in many cases, the primary is the election, at least the one that really makes a difference. That's because in Kansas, often there may be no Democratic Party candidate. Or if there is a Democrat, that candidate may have little money available to campaign in a district with a large Republican voter registration advantage.…
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Wolf investigation, political to the extreme

The investigation of a candidate for United States Senator by an appointed board in Kansas raises questions of propriety, and Senator Pat Roberts' use of it in advertising is shameful. If you've paid attention to television advertisements in Kansas, you probably are aware that United States Senate Candidate Dr. Milton Wolf has come under investigation by the Kansas Board of Healing Arts. His act that lead to this investigation was posting anonymous X-rays on Facebook. The campaign of Pat Roberts is spending mightily to make sure Kansans are aware of the investigation, which was launched just two seeks for an…
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