Archive for Friday, October 8, 2010

Statehouse Live: Republicans concerned about political fallout from school finance plan, memo indicates

October 8, 2010, 11:17 a.m. Updated October 8, 2010, 2:43 p.m.


— An internal House Republican memo concerning House Speaker Pro Tem Arlen Siegfreid's school finance proposal, urges Republicans seeking office "to lie low over the weekend and hope this blows over in the press."

Last month, Siegfreid of Olathe unveiled a school funding plan that would increase reliance on local property taxes and eliminate pupil weightings. Democrats have been highly critical of the plan, saying it would hurt rural and low-wealth districts. They also said it represents the direction that Republican gubernatorial candidate Sam Brownback wants to go with school funding.

Related document

Republican email ( .PDF )

After several days of criticism, Brownback said he would veto Siegfreid's plan if it came to his desk.

In a Sept. 27 memo, Peter Freund who is the chief of staff to House Majority Leader Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, writes to Republican candidates and representatives. The email, obtained by the Journal-World, says: "Talking with Joe, the Brownback campaign, the Speaker and Majority Leader, as well as the Pro Tern's office who launched this plan at this time, we felt it best to lie low over the weekend and hope this blows over in the press. While everyone is in agreement that candidates should distance themselves as far as possible from the Pro Tern's plan, we must be ready for a likely attack that you are part of or will support a "House Leadership Plan" that "raises property taxes." Since Brownback already disavowed the plan, we didn't want to keep it in the headlines by also putting out a release that would repeat Rep. Siegfreid's comments that it is his plan and his alone. With any luck, when the Democrats launch this attack near early voting, the public will only remember a vague headline about Brownback and not a well communicated story about this Legislative plan by GOP Leadership to raise property taxes."

The memo also includes talking points from state Rep. Joe Patton, R-Topeka, who is chairman of the House Republican campaign committee. These talking points include:

"--There are a number of proposals to improve our schools' funding formula being talked about - I look forward to learning about all of them.

-- I will not vote for the state government to raise your property taxes - nor will I vote to force our school board to raise your property taxes.

-- I do support a community's right to increase their funding of their schools - if that's what taxpayers in that district want to do and vote to do so ... just like when Topekans voted a few years ago to raises property taxes to build the sports park and put air conditioning in the schools. That's what people mean when they want to give more control to local school districts. If they want to get into the weeds on the issue: Bottom line - the state has a constitutional obligation to provide our students with a suitable education and I support that responsibility but I will not vote to raise your property taxes. We've got to come up with a way to fund our schools that gets more money into the classroom and keeps districts from suing."


vermont 7 years ago

Brownback is a sneaky Washington politician. Keep him out of Kansas. The bus he's driving around Kansas has Alabama plates and got a paint job in Atlanta. Slime-ball Brownback.

itwasthedukes 7 years ago

"suitable education" can this be measured in dollars? I think not. There is a lot more at stake here than a suitable education. Biggest governmental piggy bank protected by "the children". Remember its all for the children, not contractors, food companies, publishers and computer companies.

sunflowergirl 7 years ago

Republicans can say they won't vote to raise our property taxes, but when they fail to adequately fund education, our local school boards will be forced too. FAIL!

biasedmedia 7 years ago

Why is this even a story? Because the Kansas Democrats JUST VOTED to raise taxes? Would they NOT vote to raise your property taxes for schools?

More great work from Scott writing whatever the Ds want him to in order to cloud the issue so voters don't know whats' going on this November. Way to go LJW.

Steve Jacob 7 years ago

I'm conflicted. You get the government you pay for. We in Lawrence pay more taxes for stuff like parks, and the T because we voted for them. The state pays for average (debatable) schooling. In theory your city voting to pay more more education sounds fair. But you really get into the haves and have nots. And with Lawrence becoming a retirement community, I see less and less people wanting to pay for it.

getreal 7 years ago

"Since Brownback already disavowed the plan, we didn't want to keep it in the headlines by also putting out a release that would repeat Rep. Siegfreid's comments that it is his plan and his alone".............COME ON. I'm going to have to scream out YOU LIE on this one.

eyeye 7 years ago

Regarding Brownback, the ostensible deficit-hawk, who feels called by our deficit to save Kansas through austerity programs that cut vital community services, especially Education.

Conservative economic leaders such as David Stockman, The Wall Street Journal editorial page, National Review, the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute have published opposition to Farm Subsidies as a longstanding source of our national deficit. For well over 10 years, Sam Brownback has received some of the 80% of Farm Subsidies that go to the wealthiest 10% of "farmers". Farm Subsidies which quite likely have produced two of the most pernicious influences on American health and environmental well being: High fructose corn syrup and Corn based ethanol.

Where does Subsidy-Sam get off in creating, in so many different ways, the national deficit that threatens the well being of America and, then, returning to Kansas to tell us what our deficit does and does not permit?

One can only conclude that Republicans are not being honest about their deficit concerns, so why should anyone take them seriously?

bks253 7 years ago

Really, we Kansans can do so much better than Brownback. Is there really a good reason why we Kansans should such an uninformed Washington politician to run our state? His school finance proposal should be a wake up call to all Kansans. Whether you like Tom Holland or not, there is no doubt he is a better choice for Kansas.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.