For some of us Governor Sam Brownback is the worst governor Kansas has had in our lifetime. Let me point out that I am 58 years old and moved here when I was 13 years old. I remember a lot of various politicians and many where Republican. But none has so adversely affected me and my friends as negatively as Brownback.
Gov. Brownback is considering running for president in the near future. He has admitted that. He has said he seriously believes he has saved Kansas from economic disaster and provided a great model for the rest of the country. He wrote in The Wichita Eagle;
“Now that Kansas’ economy is getting back on track and we’ve taken the necessary steps to get the government’s fiscal house in order, it was time to take a stand for the future of our state. In May, the Kansas Legislature passed and I signed the largest tax cut in state history, eliminating state income taxes on small businesses and reducing the tax burden on hardworking Kansans.”
But his enthusiasm isn’t shared by all. In the The Lawrence Journal-World, they report;
“CNBC based its rankings on 10 categories. Some of those included infrastructure, transportation, cost of living, business friendliness and education, according to a news release from the Brownback administration. Pollina Corporate based its rankings on 32 factors controlled by state government."
But another report shows Kansas lagging most states in economic growth from February to May and predicted it will trail in the next six months.
Then in the St. Louis Post Dispatch;
Since the tax cuts became law one year ago, Kansas has cut investment in education, reducing state aid to public schools by more than $300 per pupil over the next two years. Public colleges and universities have increased tuition, in some cases more than three times the rate of inflation. And Kansas has $365 million less revenue this year as compared to last, which means further cuts to education, public safety and other critical services. As even more tax cuts are phased in, impacts to these services will worsen.
These cuts to K-12 and higher education will seriously harm Kansas’ economy, as one of the key factors businesses consider when making location and hiring decisions is whether they have access to an educated, highly-skilled workforce. Funding cuts will also compromise the state’s transportation network and the safety of Kansas communities, impacting the very infrastructure that businesses need to be successful and which Kansans need to be competitive.
On top of the cuts to services that people depend on, Kansans are paying more in other taxes. The Kansas legislature increased sales taxes by $300 million per year, hitting the middle class and low-income people’s pocketbooks the hardest. State funding cuts have already forced many cities and counties in Kansas to increase local property taxes in order to avoid eliminating vital services.
And of course Brownback has bragged of a low Kansas jobless rate due to all those pro-business efforts he has made to entice businesses to move here. Again The Wichita Eagle reports that the seasonal adjusted unemployment rate in Kansas was 5-9% in July. That was for three straight months. The Wichita Eagle described the tax cuts Brownback promised more of a Valium shot rather than a shot of adrenaline.
For all his bragging about a Kansas that is breeding prosperity, much of the jobless rate is due to people who have given up on finding jobs in Kansas.
Brownback and his allies have exaggerated greatly the progress he and his allies have made in Kansas. This is just the tip of an iceberg of rightwing ideas that leave many poor and working people in bad shape. The idea of this man running the country would be a joke if it were not funny.
If Kansan’s are lucky this man will be voted out of office and he will fade into obscurity. The idea of him moving up to being the president is an outright nightmare.