Archive for Saturday, September 17, 2011

Brownback under fire at rally

Group gathers at Capitol to protest cuts to arts, schools, social services

September 17, 2011


— About 250 people on Friday rallied at the Capitol, upset with Gov. Sam Brownback’s agenda and vowing to do something about it.

“Our Kansas way of life is in jeopardy,” said Crystal McComas, of Lawrence. McComas, a social worker, and Tamara Werth, a psychologist from Lawrence, organized the event to protest recent Brownback decisions.

They formed a group called Kansans United in Voice & Spirit and said they hoped the rally would initiate local chapters across the state.

Speakers at the rally criticized Brownback, a Republican who took office in January, for cutting funding to public schools, social services and the arts.

Mark Desetti, a lobbyist for the Kansas National Education Association, said Brownback’s cut of $232 in base state aid per student amounted to a nearly $110,000 cut to Quail Run School in Lawrence.

He asked how cuts like those across the state would affect schools’ abilities to replace textbooks and to hire teachers and paraprofessionals. He said the state has shed nearly 1,300 teacher positions and 935 support-personnel positions between the 2008-09 and 2010-11 school years.

And he warned that Brownback’s plan to cut income taxes would further erode the state’s ability to pay for needed services.

“The state will have no choice but to enact massive cuts,” he said.

Brownback has defended his budget cuts as necessary in tough economic times. And he says reducing the state income tax would attract more businesses to Kansas and grow the economy.

Diana Gibson said budget cuts and policy changes under Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services Secretary Robert Siedlecki Jr. have hurt her 85-year-old uncle, who is a World War II combat veteran.

Gibson said her uncle lives with her brother and sister-in-law in south-central Kansas and receives home-based care with her sister-in-law being designated as the caretaker.

But the state has cut the hours of care that it will pay for from 34 hours per week to seven hours per week and doesn’t want the sister-in-law to be the provider, she said. The state has said it will pay for Gibson’s uncle to go into a nursing home, which will cost three times as much than if he stayed at home, she said. And her uncle wants to stay home.

“In less than nine months, they (the Brownback administration) have pretty much destroyed the program,” she said.

John Divine, of Salina, and former chairman of the Kansas Arts Commission, said Brownback’s veto of funding for the arts has sent a negative message throughout the country.

The message is, he said, “If you want to be creative, go to Colorado, go to Nebraska, go to Missouri. Don’t come to Kansas.”

Brownback has said arts funding is not a core function of state government, and the funding loss can be made up through private donations.

Douglas County Commissioner Nancy Thellman, who attended the rally, said of Brownback, “He is not representing Kansas values.”

Thellman agreed that the state economy was in tough shape, but said Brownback’s moves were part of his “commitment to corporate America.”

In response to the rally, Brownback’s spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag said, “In the past eight months, Kansas has added more than 13,000 private-sector jobs and turned a budget deficit into a $100 million surplus, but there’s still a lot of work to do.”

Total unemployment, however, has increased. The Kansas jobless rate increased in August for the first time in more than two years, going from 6.8 percent in July to 6.9 percent.


Les Blevins 2 years, 7 months ago

"Brownback has defended his budget cuts as necessary in tough economic times. And he says reducing the state income tax would attract more businesses to Kansas and grow the economy" ? Then why won't he engage with Kansans who propose to bring jobs to every county in the state? I propose to do just that but Sam won't give me the chance to provide more details, which I offered in a letter back in January. I'll provide this letter to anyone who requests it by email to with "Brownback letter" in the subject line.


Mike Ford 2 years, 7 months ago

socialism the catchword for dimwits who had no answer in 2008. They had to make up something as they were left behind and now they try and drag the state and country back to the time when archie bunker ruled and couldn't spell socialism.....


tomatogrower 2 years, 7 months ago

Conservatives think that education is only the three "r's", reading, riting and rithmetic. Of course, they can't spell very well. Never mind they will have to be ready for a world of technology, and a world that must compete globally. Never mind they won't have critical thinking skills and the creativity that made our country great in first place. Destroy arts, rewrite history, make little robots who will follow whatever lies that are sent out on facebook and email.


mrchips 2 years, 7 months ago

The mighty class -war us inevitable. Even liberals are arming themselves, something I never thought I would see.


kawrivercrow 2 years, 7 months ago

Can some of my liberal friends help explain why we are entitled to take our fellow taxpayers money and spend it on the arts when we could instead use private donations?

I will gladly give to the arts for the purpose of education for my niece and nephew, but it feels like stealing when we force others to give to causes they don't support. I don't think it's right.

"Put up or shut up" I say. I am sometimes embarrassed by the egocentric and infantile attitude by my peers in the NPR crowd.


JerryStubbs 2 years, 7 months ago

I saw on TV something about Brownback swinging a deal with AMC theatres to move their headquarters from KCMO to Leawood, kS, with a $47Million incentive.

I guess this is moving jobs into the KS tax base somehow, but can it really make any jobs?


mustrun80 2 years, 7 months ago

KS spends about $4K per pupil. $232 reduction = 5%. OMG!!!!!!!!! When we are in the situation we are in a 5% cut makes somebody a Nazi?? Especially when massive increases in education spending over the past 40 years have accomplished an increase in student performance, oh wait it didn't.

Yes - just SPEND SPEND SPEND. The left (D's and R's) are incapable of serious fiscal behavior.


voevoda 2 years, 7 months ago

If Kansas government now has a surplus of $100 million, why not spend .2% of that to keep the Kansas Arts Commission running and keep Kansas eligible for external funding, too? Why close down SRS offices that serve thousands of needy people when there's money to keep them open? It's strange how the Brownback administration claims financial crisis when it wants to cut out certain services, and claims a healthy state budget when it wants to brag to the business community.


edjayhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Too bad we didn't think about bringing Ed Schultz at MSNBC to the rally.


Jan Rolls 2 years, 7 months ago

If this nut ksfbcoach is really a coach then why doesn't he refuse his pay because federal dollars are involved? If he is not a coach he and his other tea baggers are just plain old nuts who if you put their brains in a bird's head it would fly backwards.


xm75 2 years, 7 months ago

More than 250 show up for local Tea Party rallies, over 1000 at the recent Salina Tea Party rally, and they don't usually talk about social issues they talk about spending, the debt, inflation, and taxes. Such as last year's sales tax increase.

Brownback clearly is supported strongly by rural Kansas and as a Governor is the best representation of rural Kansas values in over 30 years, and not just for his social issue stands.


deec 2 years, 7 months ago

It is not just Lawrence that is unhappy with the direction of Kansas, contrary to the fantasies of some posters here: Kansas Citizens for the Arts is a "grassroots organization dedicated to ensuring widespread bipartisan support for public funding for the arts in Kansas." Similar session have been in Lawrence and Emporia and Johnson and Wyandotte counties. Upcoming sessions are planned for Wichita, Garden City and Iola. or this: or this More than 200 people, including 40-plus Wichitans, rallied on the steps of the Capitol on Friday morning, calling on Kansans to unify against many of Gov. Sam Brownback's initiatives.

Read more:


demonfury 2 years, 7 months ago

Let's not forget that 2,878,475 other Kansas citizens didn't show up for this little whine and cheese party.


Cait McKnelly 2 years, 7 months ago

Ummm they didn't just come from "one little town". They came from "little towns" all over Kansas. Towns like Pratt, Hays, Fort Scott and bigger towns like Wichita and even Topeka itself. I actually think a crowd of 250 was pretty impressive for only a couple of weeks of organization. I have family in Pratt and word on the street there is that their PTBs are none to pleased with the Govelytizer since they had to cough up 60K of their tax dollars to keep their SRS open.


Flap Doodle 2 years, 7 months ago

In other shocking news, disappointed progressives are disappointed.


think_about_it 2 years, 7 months ago

250 moonbat lefties from one snobby little town show up to try and impose their socialist programs on the rest of us real Americans. This is news.


think_about_it 2 years, 7 months ago

250 moonbat lefties from one snobby little town show up to try and impose their socialist programs on the rest of us real Americans. This is news.


scott3460 2 years, 7 months ago

Vote your own economic interests, not the social issues that right wingers use to divide the middle and working classes. They NEVER deliver on those issues and yet ALWAYS find a way to steal you blind.


geekin_topekan 2 years, 7 months ago

Vote for BB is saying "yes" to Jayzus,,,and "No" to brown people.


SnakeFist 2 years, 7 months ago

+5. But ultimate responsibility is always with the short-sighted, uninformed people who vote crazies like Brownback into office.


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