Archive for Saturday, September 17, 2011

Democrats in Legislature lambaste Brownback over jobs

September 17, 2011


— Kansas Democrats on Friday pounced on a new unemployment report showing that the state’s jobless rate increased for the first time in more than two years, saying it showed Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, was on the wrong policy path.

Brownback, however, said the state’s finances are getting better and that private-sector jobs are growing, even as public-sector jobs decreased.

“The economy in the state has been improving, but not enough,” he said recently.

The Kansas unemployment rate rose to 6.9 percent, up from 6.8 percent in July. The seasonally adjusted rate of 6.7 percent was up from 6.5 percent in July. The increase represented the first time the jobless rate went up since July 2009.

Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka and House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence said Brownback and the Republican-dominated Legislature have focused too much attention on abortion, regulating strip clubs and other social issues instead of focusing on the economy.

“Governor Brownback and the Republican Legislature have complete control over every facet of state government,” Davis said. “This is what happens when our governor and Republican Legislature make divisive social issues their top priority.”

Hensley said Brownback promised to make improving the economy his top priority. “We now know his rhetoric doesn’t match his record,” Hensley said.“These unemployment numbers show that job creation isn’t even close to being his first priority. Instead, he spent his first session laying off teachers, state employees, and abolishing 4,600 art-supported jobs, all while promoting an extreme social agenda that does nothing to improve our state’s economy.”

Brownback cut base state aid per pupil and reduced payroll, saying that tough budget decisions were needed to close a projected $500 million revenue shortfall. He vetoed funding for the arts, saying that wasn’t a core function of government and private donations would step in to fill the void.

Despite the higher unemployment rate, Brownback has been touting the creation of private-sector jobs in Kansas. And Brownback has said he will push for lowering income taxes in the next legislative session, a move he believes will attract more business and industry.

His office put out a news release saying that since taking office, Kansas has added 13,000 private-sector jobs and turned a budget deficit into a $100 million surplus.

Tyler Tenbrink, a labor economist with the Kansas Department of Labor, however, said, “Overall there has been no noticeable improvement in the Kansas labor market since April.”


pace 6 years, 8 months ago

Be easier to recall the people in the house and senate who feed the beast. Brownback is not alone, it is a group of people destroying Kansas infrastructure, denigrating education, arts, families, health access. Lets identify and point out who is doing this.

Mike1949 6 years, 8 months ago

Brownback isn't done yet destroying Kansas. I am wondering how private donations were going to to support the arts in this state when unemployment keeps going up. I bet he is taking credit for the new disease research center here in Manhattan as one of HIS contributions of bringing in jobs. This state is dying because of the Republican. I guess intelligence isn't a pre-requisite. Daily, more and more people are ashamed to say, "I'm from Kansas"! I know I am and many of my friends. (I expect this comment will bring the far right out in my home state as "Leave if you don't like it here!" Typical Un-American Republican statement that has been repeated since the Bush area!

Richard Heckler 6 years, 8 months ago

"Brownback, however, said the state’s finances are getting better and that private-sector jobs are growing, even as public-sector jobs decreased.

“The economy in the state has been improving, but not enough,” he said recently."

Hard evidence please! Political rhetoric produces neither facts,jobs or economic growth.

Brownback's economics at a cost hundreds of jobs throughout the state plus he has given away $56 million tax dollars between two corporations. We're talking Reckless Reaganomics and TABOR by Grove Norquist/Koch boys still backed by the Waltons of Wal-Mart.

Impeach Brownback and stop shopping Wal-Mart!

Richard Heckler 6 years, 8 months ago

It’s time to send a message to the Koch Brothers and Koch Industries that they cannot treat American citizens this way and still expect us to support their products:

Koch Industry Gasoline: Chevron Union Union 76 Conoco

*Koch Industry/Georgia-Pacific Products: Angel Soft toilet paper Brawny paper towels Dixie plates, bowls, napkins and cups Mardi Gras napkins and towels Quilted Northern toilet paper Soft ‘n Gentle toilet paper Sparkle napkins Vanity fair napkins Zee napkins

**Koch Industry/Invista Products: COMFOREL® fiberfill COOLMAX® fabric CORDURA® fabric DACRON® fiber POLYSHIELD® resin SOLARMAX® fabric SOMERELLE® bedding products STAINMASTER® carpet SUPPLEX® fabric TACTEL® fiber TACTESSE® carpet fiber TERATE® polyols TERATHANE® polyether glycol THERMOLITE® fabric PHENREZ® resin POLARGUARD® fiber and LYCRA® fiber

***Georgia Pacific Building products Dense Armor Drywall and Decking ToughArmor Gypsum board Georgia pacific Plytanium Plywood Flexrock Densglass sheathing G/P Industrial plasters (some products used by a lot of crafters)- Agricultural Plaster Arts & Crafts Plaster Dental Plaster General Purpose Plaster Glass-reinforced Gypsum (GRG) Industrial Tooling Plaster Investment Casting Plaster Medical Plaster Metal Casting Plaster Pottery Plaster FibreStrong Rim board G/P Lam board Blue Ribbon OSB Rated Sheathing Blue Ribbon Sub-floor DryGuard Enhanced OSB Nautilus Wall Sheathing Thermostat OSB Radiant Barrier Sheathing Broadspan Engineered Wood Products XJ 85 I-Joists FireDefender Banded Cores FireDefender FS FireDefender Mineral Core Hardboard and Thin MDF including Auto Hardboard, Perforated Hardboard and Thin MDF Wood Fiberboard - Commercial Roof Fiberboard Hushboard Sound Deadening Board Regular Fiberboard Sheathing Structural Fiberboard Sheathing

H/T Boycott and Defeat Koch Industries

newmedia 6 years, 8 months ago

And just how many good American jobs do these industries provide? Guess I must have missed that part.

chootspa 6 years, 8 months ago

Not as many good American jobs as they used to provide, yet the Kochs have reaped record profits in spite of all their layoffs. The better question you should ask is are there good sources for these materials that don't profit people supporting the tea party agenda. As it turns out, you can use Cottonelle® and Scott® brand paper products and still support American workers.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 8 months ago

Wikipedia says that Koch Industries employs 50,000 people in the U.S. That sounds like a pretty large contribution to employment in the U.S. I guess Merrill does not like to hear this sort of stuff.

chootspa 6 years, 8 months ago

And just think, they only laid off about 8000 of them in recent years while amassing record profits. Maybe if we're extra nice they'll only lay off another 8000 in order to make their next financial milestone. Meanwhile, Wikipedia says Kimberly-Clark employes around 56,000 employees.

Dan Eyler 6 years, 8 months ago

Those mean nasty Koch brothers who employee 50-60 THOUSAND!!!!! Americans across this nation with jobs that Lawrence cannot. That is a living wage paycheck. I have said all along that if these morons like Merrill really want to go after the Koch brothers and the energy industry they should insist on closing immediately the Sunflower power plant in north Lawrence. I mean if your down on the energy sector jobs start the the unemployment at home right here in Lawrence. So let me start the campaign right now for Merrill, you know how it goes... HEY HEY HO HO, LAWRENCE COAL FIRE POWER PLANT AND JOBS HAVE GOT TO GO....HEY HEY HO HO, LAWRENCE COAL FIRE POWER PLANT AND JOBS HAVE GOT TO GO....HEY HEY HO HO, LAWRENCE COAL FIRE POWER PLANT AND JOBS HAVE GOT TO GO....HEY HEY HO HO, LAWRENCE COAL FIRE POWER PLANT AND JOBS HAVE GOT TO GO.....Come on Merrill sing it brother, HEY HEY HO HO.....

Dave Trabert 6 years, 8 months ago

It's interesting that politicians who leap to blame the governor for an uptick in the unemployment rate leveled no attacks or blame at previous governors when employment was plummeting. Not that only one party is guilty...sadly, they all do it.

It's also noteworthy that many who are critical of the lack of job growth voted to raise the sales tax despite two academic studies saying a tax increase would destroy jobs.

Jobs and workers have been migrating away high burden states to low burden states for quite some time. According to the Tax Foundation, Kansas had the 25th highest state-and-local tax burden in 2005 (they calcualte tax burden as a percentage of tax collections compared to personal income). In 2008, Kansas had the 23rd highest burden...and in 2009 we had the 19th highest. Since then, Kansas taxpayers have been hit with nearly $500 million in sales, unemployment and property tax increases. When the 2010 numbers are released, we could conceivably have the 15th highest tax burden in the country.

Kansas will continue to fall farther and farther behind until we abandon the tax-and-spend habits of the last decade or two. While reducing the tax burden means reducing spending at the state and local levels, that can fortunately be done without eliminating essential services.

This is as much a local problem as a state problem. There's actually a good case to be made that the local tax problem is even greater that the state tax issue; Kansas is very uncompetitive with income taxes but we fare the worst on property taxes. The Tax Foundation says Kansas has the 9th most expensive property tax structure on an affordability basis. The Minnesota Taxpayers Association says Kansas has the 7th highest effective tax rate on commercial property. In fact, property tax collections in Kansas increased 94% between 1997 and 2010, while population increased 10% and inflation increased 33%. Total property tax collections more than doubled in 39 counties (from all jurisdictions in the county, including cities, townships and school districts)...21 of those counties had declining population. FYI, property taxes in Douglas County increased 129%. Full details are available (only) at with data provided by the Kansas Department of Revenue.

chootspa 6 years, 8 months ago

It's also noteworthy that Dave Trabert does not live in Lawrence. He lives in Wichita and gets paid to spam everyone with his efforts to influence policy. After two months of ignoring us, he's back to drum up support for Brownback policies that he's had a possible hand in crafting. I'm sure he's rather proud of his efforts, so let's all let him know what we think of the job he's doing so far.

He is from the Kansas Policy Institute, a Koch-funded libertarian "think" tank that supports an extreme tea party agenda, and he's been spamming every single Kansas newspaper that will allow him with his website, just as he's doing in the comments right here. He also serves on the Koch-funded ALEC as part of the Tax and Fiscal Policy committee. ALEC is rather aggressive in having corporate lobbyist and legislators crafting model legislation, so when I say he's had a hand in crafting these policies, I really mean he's had a hand in spoon-feeding his John Birch Society nonsense to our governor and personally wrecking the Kansas economy. Thanks, Dave.

He's also citing data from the Tax Foundation, which is also a Koch funded "think" tank that used to be independent but now pretty much says what the Kochs want it to say. Tax Foundation data is often criticized for poor methodology and faulty calculations.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 8 months ago

"Jobs and workers have been migrating away high burden states to low burden states for quite some time."

You must be talking about Texas, right? That state that has higher unemployment than Kansas, and more minimum wage workers than any other state in the union, right?

chootspa 6 years, 8 months ago

Don't stop bragging Texas. They also boast more uninsured employees than anywhere else and the state where an employee is most likely to die on the job, yet they don't require employers to carry workers comp insurance. Libertarianism is awesome.

xm75 6 years, 8 months ago

There are Democrats in the Kansas legislature? Who knew.

sciencegeek 6 years, 8 months ago

If 13,000 jobs have been created, where are they? Are we talking about part-time or temporary jobs? That could be it--get rid of a full-time job, replace it with 4 temp jobs one right after the other for a net gain of 3 jobs. Maybe its all the public jobs lost and transferred to businesses in other states?

Then again, maybe it's all those private-sector jobs created to work on the Capitol renovation. That'd account for nearly all those 13,000 jobs all by itself! I wonder how many of THOSE jobs went to Kansans?

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 8 months ago

The people have already spoken and that is why a great many Democrats did not return to Topeka last year. We need to have a business climate in Kansas of lower taxes, less unnecessary government regulation, and positive incentives to get industry into our state! We do not need the same warmed over liberalism that has been represented by the Democrat party in Topeka for the last number of years and their assault upon the traditional family unit.

jafs 6 years, 8 months ago

About 1/2 of the people stayed home and didn't vote.

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