Kansas may be conservative experiment

May 16, 2012


As of Tuesday afternoon, the Kansas Legislature seemed to be unable to deal with what very well may become a disaster for the state over the coming years: a tax reform bill sitting on the governor’s desk that may cause the state to face a budget deficit of unprecedented proportions within five years. The lead-up to this situation seems more reminiscent of a bad Hollywood comedy than of responsible governance.

Through a series of parliamentary maneuvers, internecine warfare in the Republican majority caused by the split between conservative and moderate Republicans, the impotence of the Democratic minority, and the intervention of a variety of powerful lobbies, the governor now has on his desk a tax “reform” bill that he says he doesn’t want to sign but will sign if the Legislature cannot come up with something better. If ever there was an example of dysfunctional government at work, the current legislative session would seem to be poised to be the poster child.

At the root of the current budgetary mess is a fundamental disagreement about the nature of state government. The conservative Republicans would like to see a substantial reduction in state government. It seems quite clear that what Democrats and moderate Republicans perceive to be a coming disaster that would force substantial curtailment of state support for social services, education and other state activities is viewed not as a disaster but, rather, as a positive development by the conservatives. Underlying this approach to state government is a philosophy that would reverse the legislation that led to the expansion of state government over the past 75 years.

There is nothing mysterious about this conservative view. Those who hold it, both in the Legislature and among the general public, simply want to return to a time when the state did very little other than provide a court system, a part-time Legislature and a few basic social services. Education would be privatized; social services would return to being the province of religious and charitable institutions. Perhaps, the conservatives would continue to favor state support of transportation and prisons, but I’m not sure.

What we have in Topeka today is nothing less than a fundamental clash of economic, social and political philosophies. Debate over whether the current tax reform legislation would create a $500,000 surplus due to increased economic activity or a $2 billion deficit by 2017 is really beside the point. I do not believe that the debate is really about economic development. There has been very little convincing evidence presented on either side about the economic development effects of the proposed tax reforms.

Rather, the real debate, as I have suggested, is about the ultimate shape of state government in Kansas. At the present time, it seems that the conservatives have the majority in both the Legislature and perhaps among the public. If this is, indeed, the case and Gov. Brownback signs the legislation currently before him, then all of us who live in Kansas will become part of a major experiment in social and economic policy over the next five years.

If, indeed, a state can prosper and fulfill its residents’ needs by a radical reduction in state services, then we may become a model for other states. On the other hand, if the conservative experiment fails, and the radical reduction in state services that is almost certainly in the cards should the tax reform legislation be signed, then Kansas will play a different role: We will be the cautionary tale that stops such policies in other states.

Unfortunately, if the conservative experiment in social engineering fails, then everyone in Kansas will suffer for it. That’s the problem with social engineering and radical experimentation. Failures can, indeed, be devastating.

— Mike Hoeflich, a distinguished professor in the KU School of Law, writes a regular column for the Journal-World.


Mike1949 5 years, 10 months ago

As a Kansas resident, I do NOT chose to be part of a experiment. In this process, I may not be able to get the medical care my family needs to live, we may be forced to sell our home, my grandchildren won't be able to go to school because my kids can't afford to send them with all the extra fees, these people who were elected by people who don't care if people die from the lack of medical care. I can see my property tax going up already and I am afraid that is only the beginning of the down fall of Kansas.

The majority of Kansans did NOT vote these people in, the independents and the liberal to moderate just didn't get out and vote. It is our fault this is happening. The problem is a good portion of Kansans lives are going to be destroyed thanks to our complacency! We are just waiting (impatiently) for the next election to get ride of these idiots, but the damage will take years to correct and it is going to be expensive!

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 10 months ago

Mike there is nothing wrong with paying your own bills. If you can't afford your current lifestyle, then downsize to a point where you can.

Why should someone have to pay their own way and yours too?

somedude20 5 years, 10 months ago

You are right, Cant_ however, what ole Mike is saying is that with the NEW laws and taxes that are being proposed by the Kansas Government, he and his family will be unable to pay for that stuff. Sounds like he is doing well enough now but the CHANGES to COME will ruin his quality of life. I am sure he enjoyed the shot you were taking at him though. Eat a peach!

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 10 months ago

Look man... this is the problem. Mike can't pay his bills in part because the government and liberals are demanding that he pay for others, many of which are able bodied loosers who are eternal mooches on the system.

Hope all of you think about this next time you vote for things like the empT, library, LAC, bicycle paths and all the other feels good things that run working people into the ground.

Just think about all the retired people who have lost their spouses that are trying to make in now on one income when you vote to spend taxdollars on crap that is not required.

Frankly, this peach tastes pretty good, but the flavor is tainted as I think about how freeking selfish and self centered many on the left are.

avarom 5 years, 10 months ago

Problem is......People never want to think they are going to get old, sick, retire and/or live on a fix income, so they are Never prepared. If you think back, when you were younger, that you will be older sooner then you care to realize and save a little, instead of buying that new car, stereo, furniture or item you never really needed in the first place. Then you might be in better shape when you get older!!

Now that medical industry is over charging for everthing, including a band-aid, they don't want to fix your illness, its cheaper for them to let you waste away and die and farm you out to some high priced senior home, that no one can afford. This is a very pathetic fact of life, and its a purposeful plan to expire the old quickly to save the Medicare Money, even though most of you probably paid into to it during your working life. Best way to live longer is grow a garden and quit eating the crappy food they are putting in all foods, read the ingredients in bread, their is enough crap and food preservatives to kill a whole state. Dextrose, Sucrose, Aluminum, Ammonia, Peanut fillers, Corn Starch, Corn Syrup, Glutin,...Read em...Sad, but True!!

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 10 months ago

One of the first things insurance agents are taught to say is: "People don't plan to fail, they fail to plan". I always paid myself first, and then in my case, purchased property. When that property and my savings became enough for the down payment on another property, I did that. If I would have been buying consumer goods (Like the 400 lb Walmart breeders we see on the 1st of the month with a buggy full of crap destined for a garage sale) I would have not wound up so fortunate.

I would argue that the medical industry overcharges partly because our government pays it, or the insurance companies have to pay it or face lawsuits. Tort reform or a loser pay system would fix a lot of this.

As for the senior home, my generation took care of Grandma... we did not farm her out to the state so we could have our evening free to party.

avarom 5 years, 9 months ago

Your right they never Plan to Fail, they problem is people FAIL TO PLAN!! That's the difference!!

avarom 5 years, 9 months ago

Your right they never Plan to Fail, they problem is people FAIL TO PLAN!! That's the difference!!

tomatogrower 5 years, 10 months ago

How's that unregulated free marketey thing going for you? I, thankfully have not shares in the company. How about you?


esteshawk 5 years, 10 months ago

Mike's comments had nothing to go with the Feds, only fears about the state. And you don't know anything about Mike. Maybe things are doing better for him and his fear is that conservative ideology is going to once again rack him.

SnakeFist 5 years, 10 months ago

Iran or Saudi Arabia might be an option if you're looking for a conservative utopia. Somalia might be an option if you're looking for a free market utopia.

However, all developed, free societies are, to varying degrees, both liberal and socialist.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 10 months ago

Remember folks Gov Sam Brownback is a product and resident of Washington D.C. Debt who cares about debt. Republicans do not so long as the debt is of their making.

Look what took place under republican watch while Gov. Brownback was in Washington D.C. : Republicans cost the Nation too much money!

Tax cuts for the wealthy create tax increases and more debt ......... not less. Why? Because the less government boys and girls have never created less government or debt. It's all rhetoric. When jobs are eliminated what happens? The flow of new money is drastically reduced thus leaving fewer to pay the bills that never went away which inevitably produces tax increases.

Republicans represent big debt and super duper bailouts were the results. Which does not seem to bother Republicans, as long as they are in power.

In fact, by the time republicans left office under Bush, the national debt had grown to $12.1 trillion:

  • ENTITLEMENT - Over half of that amount had been created by Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy.

  • ENTITLEMENT - Another 30% of the national debt had been created by the tax cuts for the wealthy under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

• ENTITLEMENT - Fully 81% of the national debt was created by just these three Republican Presidents. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html

  1. ENTITLEMENT - Starting in 2003 republicans destroyed the world economy by encouraging U.S. banks to make loans to those who could not afford them, through schemes such as the "American Dream Downpayment Initiative".

Also through the destruction of oversight by way of lawsuits to prevent state securities laws from being enforced on Bush's watch.

Once republican policies led to their inevitable result of economic collapse, the United States found itself in a situation where it had to take on debt in order to restore the economy. http://www.reaganbushdebt.org/CalculationDetails.aspx

Flap Doodle 5 years, 10 months ago

"...• entitlement - Fully 81% of the national debt was created by just these three Republican Presidents..." Not true any more, the Spender in Chief has changed that. Why do you feel compelled to keep repeating that lie?

Alyosha 5 years, 10 months ago

Your claim here is flat out false. Try to argue using truths, not political talking points (unless of course you are simply a partisan poisoning the communicative well).

Mike Hoeflich 5 years, 10 months ago


I just looked at your blog...and you did. I don't usually read blogs so I didn't know you'd already made the point. Actually, you made the case better than I .

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 10 months ago

Thank you, sir. My sister uses a common online acronym, GMTA (great minds think alike). :)

Mike Hoeflich 5 years, 10 months ago


The one place I would differ is that I don't think Brownback is pushing a solely conservative religious agenda. As I say in my column, I think his agenda is much more one of economic and social engineering, Indeed, I believe that many of his backers and advisors don't actually care that much about the religious right; they are interested in secular matters, i.e. creating a minimal state government with maximum freedom for business interests and no business taxes.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 10 months ago

I would disagree on the social engineering level. The social legislation being passed (which is not just anti-abortion but anti-contraception as well) is right out of the religious right playbook, as is the "pro-marriage" legislation that goes so far as to endanger battered women. Even the insidious attacks on social services are part of that playbook; an attempt to bring those services under the power and control of religious forces who then decide who is "worthy" of those services. These things don't create small government but conversely even larger government and closer micromanagement by the state. To date, close to three quarters of a million dollars has been spent defending that legislation in the Federal courts. The current SB 313, which has been shelved by the Senate in committee, is viewed as one of the most sweeping pieces of anti-abortion legislation in the US and, if passed, will most assuredly be challenged. By the time this is over the state will end up spending millions of state dollars to defend these laws. This is not a sign of small, fiscally conservative government.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 10 months ago

I'm sorry. I misspoke. There is no "pro-marriage" legislation as such; simply pro-marriage policies being set down by SRS (which Brownback has control over).

Michael LoBurgio 5 years, 10 months ago

Tax-cut legislation will be the end of Kansas as we know it

How much growth do we need to pay for the astronomical cuts?

The Kansas Economic Progress Council has done some quick math. They have calculated that Kansas would need to produce a half million new jobs over the next five years to generate enough income and sales tax to cover the $2 billion hole. Therefore, Kansas jobs would have to grow 50 percent over the next six years.

This is where the nuclear explosion will be felt right here.

Half the state’s budget goes to K-12 education. Unless the Legislature lifts the lid on local tax authority, which is highly unlikely, our schools are in for rough times, indeed. There is no way they can be immune to cuts of the magnitude required. But even if we were given total local authority to tax ourselves, we might have to tax ourselves massively to make up for anticipated shortfalls from the state.

If you have a child who will be or is attending a state university, you can prepare yourself for much higher tuition, as the state inevitably will be forced to cut back on funding for higher education. This isn’t something Brownback wants. It just will be inevitable.

The hundreds of millions of dollars earmarked for transportation projects, including the planned improvements at our Johnson County triangle at Interstate 35, Interstate 435 and Kansas 10 will be ditched. The entire transportation budget will be decimated. There will be no choice.

Cuts to local governments from the state are a virtual certainty. That will lead to higher local property taxes to make up the difference.

Read more here: http://joco913.com/news/steve-rose-the-end-of-kansas-as-we-know-it/#stor...

Alyosha 5 years, 10 months ago

You presume that the writer cannot separate his own interests from the interests of the commonweal at large. Upon what factual basis do you presume this? Without any objective evidence for such a claim, your comment is nothing but an unethical rhetorical ploy of which you should be ashamed.

chootspa 5 years, 10 months ago

L_O is unable to objectively view any topic, so he/she projects that characteristic onto others.

cato_the_elder 5 years, 10 months ago

"That’s the problem with social engineering and radical experimentation. Failures can, indeed, be devastating."

Case in point: LBJ's "Great Society" and his "War on Poverty," on which over $7 trillion has been spent since 1965, the results of which have seen nuclear families replaced by serial monogamy in poorer communities, increased poverty in parts of the entire country, the abandonment of personal responsibility in favor of government welfare, many more bloated government bureaucracies and the tragic fact that a significant segment of our national population is simply incapable of fending for itself without government at some level telling it what to do.

The manner in which a major part of the New Orleans population conducted itself both before and after Hurricane Katrina was staggering proof of the continued abject failure of the social engineering and radical experimentation employed by LBJ and his cronies close to 50 years ago.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 10 months ago

Whether on one side of the experiment or the other, extremists will push for greater extremism should they not get the results they expect. In your example, the reason the Great Society or the War on Poverty failed was because not enough money was spent on it. Seven trillion needs to be 17 trillion. And on the other side are people like Brownback, who will slash and burn and if that doesn't produce the desired result, they think they need to slash and burn some more. As long as the great majority who reside somewhere in the middle choose to stay home on election day, we will continue to get exactly the government we deserve.

Jon Jambor 5 years, 10 months ago

The author seems to think that a smaller government with more personal responsibility is some kind of failure. Remember: The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

Mike Hoeflich 5 years, 10 months ago

Ktgman: Actually, I don't think that. Indeed, generally, I am in favor of lower taxes and smaller government. What I am concerned about is that the current legislation attempts to do far too much in too short a period of time. Even the Governor has said that he would prefer a longer phase-in for some of the tax cuts. I am not suggesting that there is some sort of conspiracy going on. What I do believe is that the conservative Republicans in the Legislature are so committed to reducing the size of state government as soon as possible that they are willing to risk damaging the economy. It just seems to me, given the radically different projections on what the economic effects of the legislation might be, a slower phase-in that would permit the Legislature to monitor the effects of the tax cut and, if necessary, change the law before too much damage is done, would be a far wiser course to take.

Alyosha 5 years, 10 months ago

This comment is juvenile. The commenter should be ashamed they can't marshal an ethical argument.

tomatogrower 5 years, 10 months ago

Hasn't Brownback created more positions? Hasn't he increased regulations on abortion providers? Who will he hire to enforce the fight against Sharia law, and make sure people are polluting and not complying with some obscure United Nations suggestion? How is that shrinking government?

cowboy 5 years, 10 months ago

Yes Cato LBJ was ....

'Johnson was not content to simply embrace JFK's proposals. He successfully took up the cudgels for the voting rights, open housing, immigration reform, environmental protections, consumer safety bills, cabinet departments of transportation and housing and urban development, cultural reforms like the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities and the Freedom of Information Act. The War on Poverty also became part of his presidential legacy. Head Start, food stamps, elimination of urban slums, public housing, expanded social security, legal services and expanded welfare to needy citizens added up to an assault on poverty that reduced the percentage of Americans living in penury from roughly 23 percent to 12 percent. Although a number of Johnson's initiatives fell short of what he hoped they might accomplish, his domestic reforms added up to a record of liberal alterations that rivaled FDR's New Deal."

Republican presidential accomplishments since Johnson Nixon = Disgrace Ford = harmless Reagan = Huge deficits , trickle down failed economics Bush 1 = War , read my lips Bush 2 = deficits , 911 , fake war , recession

Quite a list of accomplishments

And to pick on the victims of Katrina , you have sunk lower than you usually do.

cato_the_elder 5 years, 10 months ago

I didn't pick on them. Their conduct is the result of government having picked for them over a period of almost five decades.

You can say anything you want in your warped fawning over LBJ, the most crooked, corrupt, dishonest individual ever to hold the presidency, but the fact remains that over $7 trillion has been spent on his "War on Poverty" and in terms of the gradual destruction of the family unit and lack of individual achievement and responsibility, the plight of the poor is worse than when his War on the Poor was begun.

cowboy 5 years, 10 months ago

Have you ever been in the deep south ? The depth of poverty and the severe climb one has to make to get out of it , combined with the deck being stacked completely against you , makes it a miracle that any make it out of poverty.

Don't break your neck when you fall off your high horse.

George Lippencott 5 years, 10 months ago

The deep south is making progress. Why has the upteem trillion not fixed it all togther. At least they are not inflated like dear old lawrence.

cato_the_elder 5 years, 10 months ago

Cowboy says: "Have you ever been in the deep south ? The depth of poverty and the severe climb one has to make to get out of it, combined with the deck being stacked completely against you, makes it a miracle that any make it out of poverty."

Yes, I've spent considerable time there. After almost five decades and $7 trillion, the plight of the poor there has not improved appreciably at all, and as far as the gradual destruction of the family unit and the lack of individual achievement and responsibility are concerned it's worse.

Thanks for proving my point.

Jonathan Becker 5 years, 10 months ago

The conservative experiment reminds me of NPR's Click and Clack's favorite last words: "Hey, watch this!"

streetman 5 years, 10 months ago

Social engineering and radical experimentation? Mike -- did you have Obamacare in mind? Gay marriage? Bailouts for car companies that should have been allowed to reorganize? Like . . . . . .

thewayitis 5 years, 10 months ago

People and businesses are fleeing the Liberal experiment ( California). If Brownback plays his cards right we will get those 1/2 million jobs in the next 5 years (from California and other liberal states). Kansas will prosper under a low tax business environment and the Liberals will hopefully go west and let the fiscal conservatives reap the rewards. (Distinguished common sense businessman)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 10 months ago

If the dismantling of state government goes as planned and indeed results in an explosion in employment numbers, that explosion will look more like China than California. $10 a day in wages, 70-hour work weeks, dangerous working conditions and highly polluted air and water may look like "common sense" to you, but others may disagree.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 10 months ago

California is crumbling under it's own weight. Kansas is slashing to the bone. Does no one see that extremism just doesn't work very well.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 10 months ago

Good policy is good policy-- bad policy is bad policy. Trying to find an "average" of between good policy and bad policy in order to avoid "extremism" will almost always result in bad policy.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 10 months ago

It's possible that zero people moved into California and zero moved out of California, while the 267,000 is the number of babies born into California. What might be interesting to look at is who is moving in and who is moving out. If a millionaire moves out and is replaced by an illegal immigrant, that would have an impact on society in ways that would be different than if that millionaire was replaced by a millionaire.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 10 months ago

Two hundred and sixty seven thousand less people died than were born.

Alyosha 5 years, 10 months ago

Another inane juvenile comment. Come on, false (an appropriate name, btw), you can do better. Try to develop a non juvenile technique.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 10 months ago

Of course it's a religious and social experiment. The test tubes with the formulas and the labs are in the ALEC offices and the basement of the C-Street Cult which has trained Sam for 30+ years. Get used to it.

usnsnp 5 years, 10 months ago

Dont know if this plan will work, but I doubt it will. What I would like to know is if it does not work are the people that passrd and signed this bill into law going to take responsibility for the mistake by resigning from office and get off the government gravy train. I doubt it because if the bill fails to do what it is touted to do they will find someone to blame besides themselves.

Bob Reinsch 5 years, 10 months ago

The end result will be the sacrifice of our children's future. The wealthiest in Kansas will be able to continue to send their kids to private schools, while those of us that believe in and support the public school system will end up with a second tier education for our kids that will make just about all of the kids good prepared for little more than becoming cannon fodder for the military. The wealthiest will be continue to be able to afford to provide their kids a college education. It's a social engineering, alright. Creation of a caste-based society is exactly what the "have's" want, to ensure that their kids inherit the power and wealth of this country, and the rest of America is left out in the cold.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 10 months ago

There is nothing wrong with creating wealth, unless you are the one that is not doing it.

Bob Reinsch 5 years, 10 months ago

Is there something wrong when the wealthiest eliminate paths to success for those that have not inherited that birthright? You seem to have missed my point. Those that don't have the wealth are going to be relegated to being second-class citizens, while the wealthiest will have access to the best schools and the opportunities afforded therein. There will be exceptions, but the trend is very obvious to those open-minded enough to see it.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 10 months ago

Then consider the concept of quit complaining and do what you have to do to be one of the elite.

Those who prosper are those who look forward, you continue to look over your shoulder for someone to blame, you are going to miss a sale.

Bob Reinsch 5 years, 10 months ago

LOL. Nice try making assumptions about me. I'm actually trying to look out for others. I'm covered.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 10 months ago

You see, looking out for others is really not your problem. When you spend time looking over your shoulder, or in this case, spend time on stuff that is non of your business, then you miss out on opportunities that are presented to you.

Its kinda like the 400 lb walmart breeder with her 4 snot nosed kids getting on your butt for telling your kid to calm down.

Bob Reinsch 5 years, 10 months ago

Looking our for others isn't a "problem". It's an opportunity that has been presented to me. That's the problem with spending all of one's time reading Ayn Rand, Zig Ziglar and Tony Robbins. You miss out on some of the most important lessons of all. We're all the same. If I'm looking out for others, I am indeed looking out for myself. No one is separate.

Geiiga 5 years, 10 months ago

Why should it be my goal to be one of the elite? I've watched Mitt Romney on the stump, and the thought of being more like that guy causes what I can only describe as existential nausea.

Why can't it be my goal to have a middle class life like my parents did?

JackMcKee 5 years, 10 months ago

Kansas, especially rural Kansaa, is a state that largely survives because of government support. Red states in general receive more in government rescources than they contribute. The fact that Kansas is faced with this kind of social experiment is evidence of a group that is willing to cut off its nose to spite it's face. Mike is entirely too kind with his column, possibly because he hasn't spent very much time in rural Kansas. Larger areas might be able to absorb the costs of this plan, although you will see much higher property taxes, sales taxes and rent. Rural Kansaa will undoubtedly be devastated. There's an old Kansaa saying my grandmother used to use, "don't put all your eggs in one basket." That's the kind of Kansas sensibility we need and it's the kind that a person like Brownback, who has spent too much time in Washington D.C. has lost.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 10 months ago

"Red states in general receive more in government resources than they contribute" That's such an overly broad statement that it has little value. Say a farmer produces for profit a certain amount of crops. On top, they receive from the government $100 price support for not producing more than that amount, the government having made the decision that having more of that crop is contrary to policy. If the government also gives $50 to a blue state dweller in the form of welfare.
In this example the red state dweller gets twice as much as the blue state dweller, making your statement true. But ...

verity 5 years, 10 months ago

I'm not sure this is an experiment in the sense that the so-called conservatives care about how it turns out. Brownback and gang are ideologues, reality doesn't enter into the equation---except that reality may be hitting a few of our legislators who will be running for re-election.

We don't need smaller or larger government, we need the right size of government. We need government to do what it needs to do. Granted, there will be much disagreement on what that comprises.

We need to study history but we also need to realize that the world has changed and is changing at an even greater speed every day. We have to rethink what government needs to do in light of how things are today, not what they were a hundred years ago, or even last year. Government obviously needs to be reformed, but in a way that is positive, not the current slash and burn or the tricky, underhanded methods being used.

Right now we just seem to be talking at each other and not listening to or considering the other sides of the issues. For example, the insults thrown at rural Kansans---having grown up in rural Kansan I know that for the most part, at least where I grew up, they are not stupid and uneducated. Despite my rural education (or perhaps because of it), I was an honor student all through college. We resented those who thought us inferior and actually considered ourselves superior to the "city slickers" who wouldn't have been able to survive on a farm. When "outsiders" got involved in trying to force unworkable policies on us, we were incensed.

I think this is what pushes people to the extreme and the extreme in any direction usually isn't good. What pushes people to be ideologues, I don't know.

Maybe we should start asking the people who are involved what they think, rather than enforcing ideological policies thought up by someone who never walked there.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 10 months ago

I can identify with that. I loved making A's on tests and outscoring the city kids. I will never forget the divide between the two classes of people. Social class is still very important and dictates how people react to others. The sole emphasis here is on college which is wrong because there are so many jobs where the youth would be better served by being an apprentice to a master and learning a trade that way. It is not just a choice between flipping burgers and being a CEO.

verity 5 years, 10 months ago

Looking back over the comments and from many, many comments made on other articles, there is an assumption by quite a few that "liberals" want everything for free. Personally, I know no one that wants a free ride. Most people want to be able to take care of themselves. Unfortunately, raising taxes on the middle/working class (which is what the current bill will do, it will only lower taxes for the upper classes) is going to push more people into a situation where they can't take care of themselves.

And with the current slash and burn, we are going to be sol.

mycatsrightorwrong 5 years, 10 months ago

You know what, this shouldn't surprise anyone. After all, this is the state that in 1932 elected as governor a traveling quack who implanted goat testicles into patients to cure impotence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_R._Brinkley#Political_career).

These tea party morons claim people are only as valuable as what they can work to buy. Not exactly the stuff of Enlightenment philosophers. The idea that people might have some inherent human value, that entitles them to minimal comfort in life, bothers these fools. And why are they bothered? Because they have a psychological dysfunction: because they value themselves by their work, others should only be valued by their work. Their tiny minds can't understand that there might be more to life than laboring 60 hours a week, and we're all going to pay for their ignorance.

JackMcKee 5 years, 10 months ago

actually there are plenty of tea partiers on government assistance, it's just that they don't see it as such when the check is written to them.

JackMcKee 5 years, 10 months ago

Mike also forgets to mention that this is not a tax cut, for most Kansans this will actually be a tax increase. The early evidence from two major employers leaving the State clearly indicates that this tax plan will not produce the pie in the sky, as promised. That leaves schools and social support service costs to cities and counties and roads to crumble.

tbaker 5 years, 10 months ago

Government deficit spending is a choice; a decision. It is not caused by tax cuts / revenue reductions. It is caused by a failure of the legislature to cut spending.

The natural condition of state and federal government is to grow and expand beyond the boundaries of their constitutions. Those on the left proceed on the assumption that any reduction in funding for the state results in the loss of some utterly essential service to the citizenry. Leaving the money in the hands of those who worked for and earned it in the first place is an anathema for the left.

Examples of government waste, excess, redundancy, and inefficiencies abound. If concern for the population is the genuine article here, then one must ask where the money would do the most good.

If someone can produce research and metrics that objectively demonstrate the state is the best choice to provide some service the majority of Kansans want, then I’m all for it continuing to be funded with tax collection. If there is a better, faster, cheaper way to provide it via the private sector, then cuts in the size and scope of state government should be adopted with equal enthusiasm.

Either way, tax reductions bills like this are good because at the very least they should provide the impetus for the critical examination of how these hard-earned dollars are being spent. State government spending for the nothing more than the sake of maintaining the size and scope of it produces disasters like California.

JackMcKee 5 years, 10 months ago

You're going to have a difficult time finding people that are willing to live in place where the mentally ill wander aimlessly around or clog the jails (not without cost) the roads are so bad it ruins your alignment (not without cost) and your children can't read or do basic math because there aren't any schools. What you wrote is a right wing fantasy. The choice is simply going to be, raise propert and sales taxes or let the state fall into ruin. So far the only evidence we have regarding this plans affect on increased economic activity is negative. That's the argument Brownback is making. It's like neither he nor you is paying attention to reality.

JackMcKee 5 years, 10 months ago

"the argument" being Brownback's idea this plan will offset lost income tax revenue with increased business activity. So far is false, e.g, Boeing, which stated very clearly that Brownback's tax plan had no positive impact on their choice on whether to stay in Kansas.

mycatsrightorwrong 5 years, 10 months ago

"Leaving the money in the hands of those who worked for and earned it in the first place is an anathema for the left." I'm a Republican, but I still feel like I need to respond: NO ITS NOT. No one cares that you keep your money, its about providing basic services to people so they can realize their own dreams: empowering the individual. That the heaviest burden would fall on those who've realized theirs doesn't seem irrational. If you think keeping as much money as you can (which society GAVE you for your skills) is the definition of freedom, you need to think about it more.

And you're changing the conversation from a dramatic decrease in the governments size to some ever expanding government boogey man, which is what people without a point do.

You want metrics and research: Somolia. Sometimes children or the poor need things to develop that the private market doesn't provide, or they can't afford. That we would join together as a community to provide those things for our brothers and sisters should make us all proud. I agree that we shouldn't be subsidizing the status quo with massive entitlements, but no corporation is ever going to send some poor kid to college or pay for our ederly's health care. You want to contract that out? Remember, corporations are unelected bodies where money accrues to passive investors. Just b/c they do something for 5 cents cheaper doesn't justify who ends up benefiting.

tbaker 5 years, 10 months ago

Did I say I wanted to see basic services stopped? You didn't read what I wrote.

Society didn't give me anything. I have worked for everything I have, or ever will have. Society didn't give me my freedom either. I was born with it. Have you heard of unalienable rights? Hint - there was a country near you founded on the idea that the individual human being is sovereign - not the state, that the pricipal function of government is to protect the individual human beings unalienable rights, namely the right of liberty whose central component is a right to personal property; the fruit of one's labor.

The money not taken by the state when taxes are lowered doesn't "cost" the state anything. For it to do so would imply the state owned the money in the first place. It does not. It belongs to the people the state takes it from. Ever-expanding government - as I said - it it's natural state. That it needs constant scrutiny to make sure it doesn't grow in scope beyond it's constitutional limits, and that what it does provide is done the smartest, most economical way was my supposedly absent point you missed, but of course you'd know that if you read what I wrote.

Somolia? Really? We're we talking about KS state government? No corporation is going to send a kid to college? Do you live under a rock? How many companies provide education benefits to their employees? Corporations answer to shareholders sir. If they can do something that saves money and increases profits, all the shareholders benefit, like retired elderly nurses sitting at home depending on a fixed income pension fund that holds stock in these companies trying to save 5 cents, like my mother. Wise up.

P.S. I'm not a republican. They grow government as much as the Democrats do.

mycatsrightorwrong 5 years, 10 months ago

Oh woops, you're right, society didn't pay for your skills, the money magically appeared as you worked (sarcasm). And society didn't create your rights, b/c some guy wrote they were inalienable, and we couldn't possibly need a state to protect them (more sarcasm).

And you put "cost" in quotations, which is strange since I never typed it. I never claimed the state owned our money, so I don't know how to respond. I guess I'd just say that anyone who isn't autistic should understand the rationale behind joining together as a community to provide for our least equipped.

Yes, Somolia is an example of a lack of a state (moving on)... please let me know what percentage of students are sent to college by corporations, and please let me know how much the general population benefits from corporate stocks. WAIT, WAIT... I WISED UP. The top 10% of America owns 90% of the stock market. Congratulate your mother for me.

P.S. We all know exactly what you are. You read Neitsche and Ayn Rand in college and you think the government is an inefficient tyrant. You have a juvenile idea of what liberty is and an irrational fear of state power. Your Ron Paul bumper sticker and copy of Road to Serfdom are well worn. We get it, but we think there's a lot more to life than you do.

tbaker 5 years, 10 months ago

You haven't got the first clue who I am but please, by all means, continue. You gave me a good chuckle.

I don't think government is an inefficient tyrant, I know it is. My juvenile idea of liberty is called the US constitution. Over half of all US households own stock in companies BTW, either directly or as part of a mutual fund in an IRA, or 401K. Wise up.

When government grows, as it is predisposed to do, as the founders warned it would, citizens need to vigilant to ensure it stays contained. When it gets too big, it undermines growth by diverting labor and capital from the far-more productive private sector of the economy. It requires ever-more taxes. As we have seen with the federal government, it piles up debt for the un-born to pay. It steadily erodes our freedoms and liberty. Our government was designed to be limited and we have a duty as citizens to keep it that way. Every time we call for the government to fix some problem outside of its constitutionally mandated roles, we accelerate it’s growth. Whatever the function is increases in cost and is diminished in quality.

I merely pointed out that in a time when revenues will fall in the short term, we have the opportunity to critically review exactly what the state is spending money on because (thankfully) Kansas law requires the state to balance its budget. Of course the mere suggestion any organ of government shrink in size and scope instantly (and quite predictably) provoked the blind opposition so characteristic of the committed left - which you have demonstrated brilliantly by the way. Speaking of juvenile, you have substituted dogma with rational thought by clinging to the most socially destructive superstition of all - the belief that society’s problems are best solved by government. They are not. Just ask the Soviets.

mycatsrightorwrong 5 years, 10 months ago

Blah blah blah... tax hungry gov't. Blah blah blah... leftist communists. You keep fighting arguments I'm not making. I guess I'll adress the 1 you did mention: just b/c a lot of ppl might own SOME stocks is not evidence corporate outsourcing benefits society. You have to look where the benefit of the public service accrues most. I have a feeling facts just bounce off you so I'll use one of the founders, TJ: “I hope we shall crush… in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country."

I'll just quickly dismiss the rest of your arguments: 1) gov't predisposed to grow = conclusory statement 2) confuse gov't problem solving with always having a private alternative 3) please cite where in Constitution it mentions freedom from taxation (clue - not there) 4) I'm not from the left 5) I didn't say gov't is best at fixing problems, I said they fix ones the private markets won't 6) none of this has anything to do w/ communism (defn: gov't ownership of capital).

The only logical conclusion from your argument is that a re-examination of gov't spending is necessary for efficiency sake (and what a cause!), even if it may hurt people who need it. Maybe I was right about the autism thing... there's some good empathy tests online.

Liberty275 5 years, 10 months ago

Arguing with people that sold their vote is fun but pointless. These people vote in the election with their purses and care little about anything but "who promised to give me more of other people's stuff.

Utopia is better than greed and envy. Carry on.

tbaker 5 years, 10 months ago

I guess I've never heard how re-examining government spending to make sure we are smart and efficient about it hurts people. I thought it helped people. November can't come soon enough...

Julie Craig 5 years, 10 months ago

As long as budget cuts include legislative salaries and pensions for former legislators, I'm fine with cuts.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 10 months ago

Of course Hoeflich is correct.

This is not about economic development. This is about ideology, and ideology that wouldcut the state government no matter what the consequences.

This claptrap about "dynamic models" and "economic development" is just polish for the turd.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 10 months ago

But, but, but.........it's a really pretty turd. Lie back and enjoy the experience. Mullah Sam knows what he's doing.

George Lippencott 5 years, 10 months ago

This is a surprise???

We have one party that wants to raise taxes to cover whatever neat idea of the day with absolutely no concern for the impact on the people who pay most of the taxes. We have another party that in order to block that impact on the middle and upper income tax payer would force government to reprioritize at a smaller level. Remember, nothing in the Governor’s approach eliminates government – it would still be a major presence.

The really aggravating part of this is that Kansas does not have the problem the Republicans seek to correct. IMHO we are well managed, not overreaching and considerate of the tax payers – at least at the state level (absent the education community)

So we hire a Republican to impose on Kansas a medication to cure a national problem but not one prevalent here. Neat experiment if it did not hurt real people.

So, Governor, just why are we doing it here? If the cuts do not lead to a surge in revenue are you willing to reconsider the cuts?

Bob_Keeshan 5 years, 10 months ago

Worst description ever. There is no party that wants to raise taxes to cover whatever neat idea of the day with absolutely no concern for the impact.

This party does not exist, except in propaganda-fueled fantasies.

By the way, the people who pay the "most" taxes are those who pay the greatest percentage of their income in taxes. And in Kansas, those people are also in the lowest income bracket.

George Lippencott 5 years, 10 months ago

Really? Perhaps you could provide sunstance to back that up. My data does not support that in comparison to the middle class. Only if you count payroll taxes does it even come close and those buy medical and retirement services for the payee - they do not fund government. I guess you want the rest of us to pay them, too

Now I am long since on record that the really rich - greater than a million - pay way too little but the Democratic Party - while making a lot of noise - never could muster the votes to raise taxes on those people even when it controlled the government.

I repeat the Democratic party never met a good deed it did not want to fund. Despite repeated efforts here I can never get anyone to define where the money comes from to pay for these goodies or to set a maximum tax rate on the middle class. It is always more, more, more. If you are going to raise teacher salaries the money must come from somewhere - I wonder whom?

20% tax increase at the county level. 20% state sales tax increase. Tax increases locally at twice inflation. Massive federal deficits and demands for increased taxes that can only be met by taxing the middle more - much more. Mandates at the state level for wind energy and energy efficiency that have driven a 40% increase in electrical rates. Federal mandates driving up medical costs, energy costs, housing costs, investment costs, transportation costs, food costs.

I guess those are all propaganda fueled fantasies

tomatogrower 5 years, 9 months ago

Bob and Moderate, there is a party who wants new ideas, like NCLB, war in Iraq, over regulating abortion providers, etc. Yet, they don't want to pay for that. So, they expand government, but they don't provide the funding. And if I hear one more person say that new conservatives want less government I'm going to scream.

Liberty275 5 years, 10 months ago

"The conservative Republicans would like to see a substantial reduction in state government."

And they haven't done this already, why?

jafs 5 years, 10 months ago

Because KS has traditionally been governed by moderate R and D working together.

George Lippencott 5 years, 10 months ago

Liberty. What is excessive in KS state government?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.