Archive for Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Reports released by progressive groups are critical of Kansas Policy Institute

November 13, 2013


— The Kansas Policy Institute, whose research is used frequently by Republican leaders in Kansas, is cited in a report from progressive groups that says the think tank is part of a web of groups pushing a corporate agenda.

The report released Wednesday by the Center for Media and Democracy, which describes its work as investigating the undue influence of corporations and front groups on public policy, and ProgressNow, a network of state-based progressive organizations, focused on the State Policy Network and its state affiliates.

The reports described SPN as an umbrella group of right-wing think tanks and organizations that include Wichita-based Koch Industries, the American Legislative Exchange Council, Americans for Prosperity and others.

"The bottom line is these organizations of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich are representing themselves as groups that are looking out for the best interests of everyday, working class Americans and it's just a blatant lie," said Denise Cardinal, executive director of ProgressNow.

In Kansas, the report focused on KPI, whose research on tax, budgetary and education policy has gained influence with Gov. Sam Brownback and GOP legislative leaders.

"The Kansas Policy Institute is SPN's cookie-cutter think tank in Kansas," the report says.

It notes that KPI President Dave Trabert also serves on ALEC's tax and fiscal policy task force. George Pearson, the chairman of KPI, has worked for years in various positions in Koch Industries, and Jonathan Williams, an adjunct fiscal policy fellow at KPI, is the director of ALEC's tax and fiscal policy task force.

Trabert, president of the KPI, dismissed the reports as criticisms from groups that disagree with KPI's philosophy.

"We probably want to get at the same place, we just disagree on how to get there," Trabert said.

Trabert said KPI was a member of the SPN, but said SPN was simply a group of like-minded people who share ideas and information.

Over the years, KPI has supported elimination of income taxes, outsourcing of government services, expansion of charter schools and has argued against increases in school funding.

KPI, ALEC and AFP have had dominant presences in the Kansas Statehouse in recent years, especially since Brownback took office in 2011.

ALEC, based in Washington, D.C., describes itself as an organization that seeks free-market policies and limited government. But critics say the group, which is composed of legislators and business representatives, creates legislation that benefits corporations while hurting average citizens.


Steve King 4 years, 7 months ago

No, no, no. Just ignore the man behind the curtain. Just keep looking at the pretty colored lights. See, we have pretty colored lights. They don't have pretty colored lights.

Bob Smith 4 years, 7 months ago

If you look through a blue filter, everything will have a blue cast to it. In reality, not everything is blue.

Michael LoBurgio 4 years, 7 months ago

ALEC Exposed

Through ALEC, Global Corporations Are Scheming to Rewrite YOUR Rights and Boost THEIR Revenue

Through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, global corporations and state politicians vote behind closed doors to try to rewrite state laws that govern your rights. These so-called "model bills" reach into almost every area of American life and often directly benefit huge corporations. In ALEC's own words, corporations have "a VOICE and a VOTE" on specific changes to the law that are then proposed in your state. DO YOU? Numerous resources to help us expose ALEC are provided below. We have also created links to detailed discussions of key issues, which are available on the left.

William Weissbeck 4 years, 7 months ago

The rich see the unpaid bill coming. They shipped the jobs overseas, they busted the unions, they lowered or stagnated average wages, but increased their corporate profits and capital gains. Somebody now has to pay the bill, so their answer is to trot out a bunch of statistics to support their unwillingness to pay taxes, and add to that the spurious philosophical argument that wanting them to pay more in taxes is a sign that we are lazy and shiftless. It's damn hard to fund schools for sharecroppers unless the landowner sees the civic need to do so.

Moti Rieber 4 years, 7 months ago

KPI also released a report against the Renewable Portfolio Standard for renewable energy that was based on cooked numbers.

George Lippencott 4 years, 7 months ago

This is news worthy? The KPI has a low opinion of these groups. Apparently (and not surprisingly) it is shared.

Just how much has the average middle class worker benefited from all the depredations inflicted by the truly rich and their lackey elected elites? Their is no tax policy that will preserve our current safety net that does not include heavy tax increases on the very people that have at best kept pace with the deteriorating resources available.

Remember many of the policy decisions that have led to this reality were supported by both parties.

MerriAnnie Smith 4 years, 7 months ago

Today at CJOnline, the headlines are about Trabert trying to say the Kochs, who support KPI, are not so much a part of the KPI agenda after all. Bull.

For more on this:

An excerpt from there:

"What is KPI's agenda?

-Defund and privatize Kansas public schools through vouchers.

-Eliminate income taxes and cut corporate taxes

-Destroy public pensions"

George Lippencott 4 years, 7 months ago

Why is it a bad thing that the Kochs propose different solutions to public policy issues?? Are we not a market place of ideas?

George Lippencott 4 years, 7 months ago

And you have support for your allegation of biased reports? Perhaps bias in your world is anything that does not agree with you.

As to money - well he has it. So does Soros and Moore. So do unions who force their members to contribute to political causes through PACs. So do corporations that do the same. In fact so do just about all of us that contribute to groups espousing our interests.

Collectively it does make for a large and diverse "market place of ideas".

George Lippencott 4 years, 7 months ago

In you opinion. Who is everybody who challenges the methodology of KPI?

The point remains that Koch and they have the right to peddle whatever hey want just like you and your friends have that right.

Th Judge is each of us on each issue. Not you speaking for all of us.

George Lippencott 4 years, 7 months ago

The point I made so poorly is that the judge of the quality of any comment/report/etc. is the individual reader.

KPI argued supply side economics. That has worked in the past so the notion is not foreign. The problem is the transfer of success in Texas to Kansas. The report did not do that and is therefore flawed. Our economies are very different.

As far as influencing anybody - well that notion is silly. Our Governor came here with th intention of applying to Kansas the activities of his friend, the governor of Texas. KPI did not influence him one bit. Whether it influenced any specific legislator - I can not say. However, the rebuttals were there and that is and remains my point. In the market place of ideas there is no referee that decides what is right /wrong.

George Lippencott 4 years, 7 months ago

Well, I see that you believe that democracy is no longer viable in our country. If the reader is not qualified to decide what is right and wrong then the reader/voter should not be voting.

Clearly the people who decide whether a KPI study or whatever is appropriate are the ones that should govern.

I see a lot of sloppy studies from both sides of the aisle. Advocacy is trumping scholarship and log rolling is trumping peer review.

You are certainly free to publish your critique of any KPI study/. Your propensity to generalize without fact (generally agreed that...) does not constitute a meaningful critique.

George Lippencott 4 years, 7 months ago

So you will allow people to make their own choices - however they may differ from your?

Personally I would eliminate all 401c(4) entities. All!!

Andrew Dufour 4 years, 7 months ago

George I think a big part of the issue with KPI isn't the substantive value of the report or what they tell the legislature it's the conflict of interests that could be present. If KPI is primarily funded by the Koch brothers and other wealthy individuals, then that information should be known before the group lobbies congress for action because the source of the $ for a report is incredibly relevant to the content of the report.

It's impossible to judge KPI's studies on their merits if potential bias's aren't clear. If a report came out that basically said "hey as it turns out cigarettes aren't bad for you" wouldn't you be interested in the funding of said report in case it was from oh I don't know big tobacco. Or conversely if a report came out that said raising taxes on the wealthy will result in huge economic prosperity wouldn't you want to know if the report was conducted by groups that advocate for the homeless.

George Lippencott 4 years, 7 months ago

Absolutely. But then do we deny them the right to publish studies of whatever quality because they are not always clear as to who funds what. If we applied that rule generally there would be a lot of material disqualified.

I have known of KPIs involvement with right wing (or so is claimed) interests for a long time. I found out by reading their web pages. Anybody can do that including those who disagree with them who can warn the reader of the alleged bias. Of course many readers do not find that association a bias?

George Lippencott 4 years, 7 months ago

As I said they do - you just have to look for it - and they do not make it easy. As noted above deep six all 401c(4) entities.

George Lippencott 4 years, 7 months ago

Get rid of all 401 c(4)s and limit 401 c(3)s to actual charities!

I am tired of all groups that claim to be what they are not.

George Lippencott 4 years, 7 months ago

You can still find on their web page their funding sources. They do not list Koch because all these groups (liberal and conservative) use cut outs to conceal the sources of their money. Cut out - create a group that than funds another group so you have to track back through several to find out sources.

By the by 401 C(3s) do have to list any large donors as part of the process of determining they are tax exempt. The same group in Cincinnati that became famous for challenging conservative 401 c(4) groups also have over-site here.

Please provide you support for "educational" groups like KPI being 401 C (3).

Paul R Getto 4 years, 7 months ago

Same platform  as the one from 1980 when one of the Kochs was on the ticket.

Same platform as the one from 1980 when one of the Kochs was on the ticket. by Paul R. Getto

Richard Heckler 4 years, 7 months ago

John Birch Society Celebrates Koch Family For Their Role In Founding The Hate Group

The 2012 GOP is the naked Emperor, but covered with tattoos reading "John Birch Society," "Koch Industries," and "I heart Bull Connor." The "subjects" are the media, which thinks the GOP is clothed in the raiments of a respectable political party.

The 2012 Republican Party is barely distinguishable from the John Birch Society. It is funded in large part by the Koch brothers, the heirs of Fred Koch, one of the Birch Society's founding members. The Kochs may not be members of the Society, but their ideas -- extreme laissez-faire capitalism with communism lurking in any regulation, unions, health care and even Civil Rights laws -- are virtually the same. (One of the current right's few attempts to avoid looking like Birchers is morphing communism into "socialism." No need to explain to the faithful that they're really the same.)

What is infuriating is not just that the Republican Party has gone mostly Bircher, but that the media refuses to recognize this. One party is advocating killing the New Deal, starving government by cutting taxes on the wealthiest, using the noxious voter-suppression methods of the most vicious segregationists, and tolerating racist conspiracy theories. That is not business as usual.

The GOP's naked extremism is there for all to see. We need to constantly point this out if no one else will.

George Lippencott 4 years, 7 months ago

If you go to the KPI web page it does not take much to determine that the Koch family has sway.

George Pearson, Board Chair - Wichita Mr. Pearson worked for nearly three decades for the Koch family as manager of various Koch Foundations and for Koch Industries in various corporate positions including Director of Public Affairs. In addition to KPI, he has served as an officer or director of state and national think tanks including the Institute for Humane Studies and the Cato Institute. He has also served on the Boards of numerous Wichita non-profit organizations including the Salvation Army Advisory Council, the Wichita Area Chamber of Commerce and Goodwill Industries. He is involved in real estate development and investment as an individual investor and as a principal in Industrial Development Investors, LLC.

4 years, 7 months ago

Hard to believe that liberal groups are critical of conservative groups. What is this world coming to?

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