Archive for Thursday, August 14, 2014

Fact-checking on Kansas economy reveals questionable claims

August 14, 2014

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— Gov. Sam Brownback's campaign issued a blistering statement Wednesday, labeling as "bold-faced lies" claims made in a TV ad by an independent political group criticizing his performance on the Kansas economy.

But a review of official numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows both sets of claims are questionable.

The ad was sponsored by the Kansas Values Institute, a group chaired by Dan Watkins, of Lawrence, a longtime activist in Democratic politics. It's leaders also include former Republican Sen. John Vratil, of Leawood, and former Democratic Rep. Jill Quigley, of Lenexa.

"And on jobs, Kansas is losing while other states are growing," the announcer in the ad says.

The ad cites a July 13 New York Times editorial that said, "Kansas, in fact, was one of only five states to lose employment over the last six months, while the rest of the country was improving."

Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer claims that after a decade of job losses in the 2000s, Kansas has reached record employment levels since Gov. Sam Brownback took office. But figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show otherwise.

Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer claims that after a decade of job losses in the 2000s, Kansas has reached record employment levels since Gov. Sam Brownback took office. But figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show otherwise.

The editorial itself cites an earlier editorial in the Kansas City Star which, in turn, cites data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showing that Kansas lost about 1,600 jobs between November 2013 and May 2014.

The May numbers were preliminary at the time of the Star editorial. They have since been adjusted and show the loss now estimated at about 700 jobs.

John Milburn, spokesman for the Brownback campaign, called that a "lie" because it included both public and private-sector jobs. While total employment may have fallen during that period, he said, private-sector jobs actually grew.

"The size and scope of government are not true indicators of a state’s prosperity or its economic strength," Milburn said in a response emailed to reporters.

"This year, there have been more Kansans working than ever before in the history of the state," Milburn said. "Over 55,000 new private sector jobs have been created."

A review of BLS numbers does show that Kansas has added 55,100 private-sector jobs since Brownback took office in January 2011. But the claim about employment being at an all-time high may be questionable, depending on which source of BLS data is being used.

Milburn provided tables drawn from the bureau's unemployment statistics, which does show current employment at an all-time high. But numbers from the database on "State and Area Employment, Hours, and Earnings" tell a slightly different story.

Using that source of numbers, both total employment and private-sector employment in Kansas reached their historic peaks in the spring of 2008, before the financial collapse that fall that sparked the Great Recession.

Total employment in Kansas peaked in May 2008 when it stood at 1.397 million jobs. Preliminary numbers for May 2014 — the month that the Brownback campaign cites as the historic high — show 1.384 million jobs in Kansas, or about 13,000 fewer jobs.

In fact, during an entire 17-month period from July 2007 through November 2008, Kansas reported higher total monthly employment figures than it did in May 2014.

In the private sector, Kansas reported 1.129 million jobs in May 2014. But during a seven-month period from January through July 2008, Kansas reported higher private-sector employment, peaking in April when it stood at more than 1.136 million jobs.

The claims about record employment have been repeated throughout the campaign, most recently on Monday when Brownback unveiled his economic agenda for a second term, which he called "Road Map 2.0."

Speaking in Topeka, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer tried to contrast the job growth under Brownback's administration with the entire decade of the 2000s.

"Between 2000 and 2010, Kansas lost 27,500 private sector jobs," Colyer said. "And unfortunately, that was at a time when America was growing at one of its greatest rates in that time period. We were going backwards while the rest of America was moving forward."

But a thorough look at both state and national job figures shows that statement is misleading.

While it is true that Kansas had a net job loss during the 2000s, so did the rest of the country. But neither the state nor the national losses occurred at a steady rate throughout the decade.

That decade was marked by a national recession in 2001, followed by steady job growth from 2004 until the summer or fall of 2008. Both the state and the nation as a whole saw massive job losses during the Great Recession, but began to regain those jobs starting in 2010.

Comments

Shawn Sullivan 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Fact: the average yearly private sector job growth from January 2011 to June 2014 was 15,740. The average yearly private sector job growth from January 1991 to January 2011 was 10,200. The average yearly private sector job under Governor Brownback has been 54% higher than the previous 20 years.

Amy Varoli Elliott 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Fact thousands of state/federal employees have lost their jobs under Brownback, resulting in more jobs lost than gained for the people of Kansas. Also you can not compare an average of three years to an average that covers 20 years, your stats will be way off. You must have similar time frames for the previous years (3 year increments) to compare the two, you also must look at the unemployment rates at the same time because this gives a better imagine of the health of the State. Also what are the average pay for employees at this same time because even if you lost the same number of jobs as you gained if the average salary drastically decreases then your health is in worse shape than before. Well minimum wage (or barely above) jobs are needed in any State if they are more plentiful than careers your State is in the crapper.

Shawn Sullivan 11 months, 3 weeks ago

You are correct that government jobs have decreased. However, the total net jobs when combining public and private sector jobs is still an increase of 13,370 per year. Private sector jobs now make up a larger percentage of total jobs than before and are gaining a larger share of total jobs faster in Kansas now than in previous administrations and over the 20 year period, and faster than the region and nation.

Shawn Sullivan 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I can only compare the last 3.5 years for Brownback and I thought comparing to the last 20 years would best. It would have been easier to compare private sector job growth to the previous 8 years as it was non-existent during that time-frame.

Amy Varoli Elliott 11 months, 3 weeks ago

unfortunately your method is severally flawed. You can not take that big a picture (not to mention one that included a recession) and try to compare it to a short time frame, stats do not work like that, if you want to do that you need to compare apple to apple, in this case 3 year time spans. You can choose a single year and say on average Kansas has added #### jobs but in 2010 we added #### jobs more than normal. But that does not work when you try to take averages over the years. Also your claim that there was no private growth for a 20 year period is also a bold face lie and you know that. Again when you take a average for a large period of time you will not get a great picture of the changes from year to year, tons of private companies folded during the recession which would drive down the numbers for that whole time span. Again you also have to look at what type of jobs are being created, if someone was laid off from a factory where they were making $20/hr and that job was replaced with a job at McDonalds that is not a plus for the State of Kansas. How has the medium income for the State faired in the last 3 years, I know most State Employees have not even seen a raise to keep up with inflation in about the last 8 years, and there doesn't seem to be a change to that on the horizon.

You can try to paint what ever picture you like of your leader, but please stop thinking that people are so dumb that they can not figure out how basic stats work. It makes you look desperate.

Shawn Sullivan 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I didn't take state that there wasn't private sector job growth the previous years. There was a yearly average of 10,200 compared to 15,740 the last 3.5 years. I said that there was no job growth the previous 8 years. To your question on income, the per capital disposable personal income increased by 10.8% while Brownback has been in office.

James Howlette 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Fact: Brownback stepped into office at an economic low point after a recession. Every state saw lots of job growth from 2011-2014. Big whoop.

Fact: The economy did not grow as quickly in Kansas as it did in most neighboring states after that massive "shot of adrenaline" tax cut. And Brownback blamed Obama.

Fact: Public sector jobs are not imaginary, and they do have an impact on the economy. Counting only private sector jobs instead of combined jobs is just spin. As are the rest of your "facts."

James Howlette 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Lookie. The whole country. We had higher growth during that time, because we had the worst recession that we'd had in more than 20 years. Call us when your boss does something that is actually impressive.

FRED data

FRED data by James Howlette

Philipp Wannemaker 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Wondering when brownies lying lackeys would show up. Shawn, you destroyed KDHE, now brownie has promoted you to destroy the rest of state government budget. You were totally incompetent at your previous position, so brownie applied peter principle and promoted you to state budget director. Definitely beyond your competence level Exactly what brownie wanted. Sorry Shawn, but I had to deal with you in your previous job. Will take HDHE, KDADS and KMIS years to recover from you. If any of staff you hired is paid above minimum wage, they are over paid. But even at minimum wage, they are totally over paid.

Shawn Sullivan 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Feel free to give me a call sometime Phillip. Would be happy to discuss. BTW- I was at KDADS and not KDHE.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 11 months, 3 weeks ago

"John Milburn, spokesman for the Brownback campaign, called that a "lie" because it included both public and private-sector jobs." Really? A job is a job. Duh. If the private sector jobs did not make up for the loss of public sector jobs, it's a loss. And private sector jobs are a lot more insecure. A company could just pick up and leave at any time, kind of like Boeing.

Shawn Sullivan 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Even when including the public sector losses, there still was a total jobs increase.

James Howlette 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Not only is job growth slower than the national average and most surrounding states after that very stupid tax cut, most of the replacement jobs are low wage, low quality jobs. 60% of those jobs won't keep a family of three out of poverty.

Shawn Sullivan 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Would be interested in your source for this:

"most of the replacement jobs are low wage, low quality jobs. 60% of those jobs won't keep a family of three out of poverty."

Richard Heckler 11 months, 3 weeks ago

55,000 new jobs eh?

And the salary attached to these jobs is what? Brownback claims to be a Reagan type dude which under Reagan millions of USA jobs began to disappear to China and elsewhere.

Reagan would also claim jobs were being replaced however a burger flipping job salary would never replace a union job salary or a white collar working class salary so I say these right wingers are quite loose with their political rhetoric.

Dave Trabert 11 months, 3 weeks ago

The data on salaries attached to those 55,000 new jobs is not available but Private Sector non-farm Wage and Salary data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that the average W&S earnings for full time and part time private sector non-farm workers increased in 2012 to $43,007 from $41,632 in 2011. Total W&S Earnings increased by 3.7% for 2013 but the number of workers is not yet available for 2013 on the same basis.

Keep in mind that BEA data includes part-time workers, so the average earnings of a full time worker would be higher. BEA does not publish the number of full time and part time separately.

Philipp Wannemaker 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Dave you either missed the the subject of this thread or are deliberately ignoring it, the thread is about the Kansas economy. Kansas doesn't begin to compare favorably with competently lead regions and other states. This is Koch country we're talking about, not a well run sector of the country.

Dave Trabert 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I'll ignore your ad hominems and simply note that I was responding to question raised about the earnings for the new jobs. It's true that Kansas trails a number of national averages but if you want to call that 'failure' you must also admit that the tax-and-spend policies of prior administrations were also 'failures.' Kansas has long trailed national averages; indeed, that was a driving force behind tax reform. http://www.kansaspolicy.org/PressRoom/Commentary/118971.aspx

It is far too early to declare tax reform a success but there are some positive signs.

Private sector GDP growth exceeded the national average in 2013 http://www.kansaspolicy.org/KPIBlog/118330.aspx

Kansas averaged 70% of the private sector job growth over the last fifteen years but is running neck-and-neck with its income-taxing peers so far in 2014. http://www.kansaspolicy.org/KPIBlog/119287.aspx

James Howlette 11 months, 2 weeks ago

The "tax and spend" policies of previous administrations were more fiscally responsible. The Brownback administration is not only not growing the economy, he's making it worse for us in the future. That's why the bond rating has been downgraded. "It's far too early to call tax reform a success," because it's a miserable failure.

James Howlette 11 months, 2 weeks ago

"Average" as in "mean?" Median would be a better measure. And you're counting those part time workers in your growth statistic, I'm assuming? If so, you don't get to pretend that wages are higher by ignoring them.

Dave Trabert 11 months, 2 weeks ago

BEA does not publish median. They publish total earnings and total employment; they do not provide breakouts of full time and part time.

It is not 'pretending' to say that full time wages would be higher than a combination of full time and part time wages; it is a mathematical strong likelihood. The only way full time only would be lower than the combined average would be if part time hourly earnings are higher than full time hourly earnings.

James Howlette 11 months, 2 weeks ago

It is dishonest to use part time jobs only when convenient. Job growth was weak compared to the rest of the nation. And it's sloppy and dishonest to make assertions based on mean rather than median when speaking of income. Too easy to skew the results with a few extremely wealthy beneficiaries of policies that end up damaging the economy for the rest of the state.

Dave Trabert 11 months, 2 weeks ago

It is neither dishonest nor convenient. It is the only current data available that addresses the question to which I responded. FYI, we're talking about wage and salary earnings only. The total for 2012 was $48 billion. It would be quite mathematically challenging for a few high-salaried individuals to skew the numbers.

James Howlette 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Since you don't have any available data on outliers, you're just making an assumption that there aren't a few highly paid CEOs skewing the numbers. And yes, it's dishonest to provide mean without a disclaimer, especially when you're providing a disclaimer for another piece of info when you think it helps your cause.

Dave Trabert 11 months, 2 weeks ago

It is neither dishonest nor convenient. It is the only current data available that addresses the question to which I responded. FYI, we're talking about wage and salary earnings only. The total for 2012 was $48 billion. It would be quite mathematically challenging for a few high-salaried individuals to skew the numbers.

Richard Heckler 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Republicans are simply too dangerous to be in charge of OUR money and OUR economy!

Sam Brownback was in congress too many years ... too bad more voters were not paying attention. Let's not get duped again.

No jobs,no medical insurance,retirement plans up in smoke by the party that believes flippin burgers is a great alternative never mind that parents can no longer be home parenting.

This is what I mean: Republicans are simply too dangerous to be in charge of OUR tax dollars and OUR economy!

--- BAILOUT ENTITLEMENT - The Reagan/ Bush Savings and Loan Heist( millions out of work)

The Reagan/Bush savings and loan heist was considered the largest theft in history at the time. George Herbert Walker Bush then took zillions of taxpayers money to cover the theft.
http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

--- BAILOUT ENTITLEMENT - The GW Bush/Dick Cheney Wall Street Bank Home loan Fraud on Consumers(millions more out of work)
Yes, substantial fraud was involved. For example, mortgage companies and banks used deceit to get people to take on mortgages when there was no possibility that the borrowers would be able to meet the payments. Not only was this fraud, but this fraud depended on government authorities ignoring their regulatory responsibilities."
http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html

--- CRIMINAL BAILOUT ENTITLEMENT - Only 3 major Financial Institutions were at risk in spite of what we’re told ?
"There were just a handful of institutions that were terribly weakened. AIG the insurer, Bank of America and Citigroup, Those three were clearly in very weakened form. Many of the other big banks simply were not.
http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/good_billions_after_bad_one_year

--- WALL STREET ENTITLEMENT - Privatizing Social Security Would Place the Nations Economy at Risk

"Social Security privatization will raise the size of the government's deficit to nearly $700 billion per year for the next 20 years, almost tripling the size of the national debt.

Put simply, moving to a system of private accounts would not only put retirement income at risk--it would likely put the entire economy at risk."
http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0505orr.html

--- RECKLESS ENTITLEMENT - Still A Bad Idea – Bush Tax Cuts - (DO NOT create Jobs) This ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class = tax increases for the middleclass. Sam Brownback brought this to Kansas after too many years in Congress. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html

All of the above is the mentality Sam Brownback is operating under. Congress was not a good teacher.

Richard Heckler 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Five of the many things that American workers can thank the nation’s unions for.

  1. Unions Gave Us The Weekend: Even the ultra-conservative Mises Institute notes that the relatively labor-free 1870, the average workweek for most Americans was 61 hours — almost double what most Americans work now.

  2. Unions Gave Us Fair Wages And Relative Income Equality: As ThinkProgress reported earlier in the week, the relative decline of unions over the past 35 years has mirrored a decline in the middle class’s share of national income.

  3. Unions Helped End Child Labor: The very first American Federation of Labor (AFL) national convention passed “a resolution calling on states to ban children under 14 from all gainful employment” in 1881, and soon after states across the country adopted similar recommendations, leading up to the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act which regulated child labor on the federal level for the first time.

  4. Unions Won Widespread Employer-Based Health Coverage: “The rise of unions in the 1930′s and 1940′s led to the first great expansion of health care” for all Americans, as labor unions banded workers together to negotiate for health coverage plans from employers.

  5. Unions Spearheaded The Fight For The Family And Medical Leave Act: Labor unions like the AFL-CIO federation led the fight for this 1993 law, which “requires state agencies and private employers with more than 50 employees to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave annually for workers to care for a newborn, newly adopted child, seriously ill family member or for the worker’s own illness.”

http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/03/05/148930/top-five-things-unions

What will workers have once the right wing ALEC party effectively does away with unions? A lot more working hours for a lot less pay. What working class person can afford to work for less? Politicians believe they are worth more to which I respond…… hardly.

Dave Trabert 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Interesting...LJW fact checks a response to a political ad but not the claims made in the ad???

FYI, trailing national averages defined the Sebelius era and other past governors, as shown here. http://www.kansaspolicy.org/PressRoom/Commentary/118971.aspx

Scott Burkhart 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Thank you, Dave. Very good link and good article. The truth is Kansas needs to be fiscally responsible and that is what Brownback has brought to the table.

Amy Varoli Elliott 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Except for that whole starting with a surplus of money in the bank and now forecasting a deficient starting next year, Most people wouldn't call that good money management. But it is Reagan economics because that is what he did too.

James Howlette 11 months, 3 weeks ago

No. Reagan had the power to deficit spend, and he also raised taxes.

Shawn Sullivan 11 months, 2 weeks ago

There was $876.05 in the bank the fiscal year that Brownback took office. The state ended the last fiscal year on 6/30/14 with $434 million dollars cash on hand.

Tracy Rogers 11 months, 2 weeks ago

H. Edward Flentje March 6, 2014

Last week Governor Sam Brownback was in Washington, D.C. boasting at a national political conference that when he took office the state was broke with just $876.05 in its bank account, but now through his leadership the state had $700 million in reserve.

As a result of the Great Recession Kansas state finance was indeed in dire condition the year before Brownback took office. Individual income taxes, the mainstay of state spending, had fallen by $487 million, or 17 percent, in the two prior years. Sales and use taxes had fallen by another $112 million in the same period. And the state’s balance sheet was indeed at zero, on June 30, 2010, six months before Brownback assumed office.

But Brownback had nothing to do with fixing this problem. He was comfortably in the U.S. Senate preparing to run for governor.

Governor Mark Parkinson and a bipartisan coalition of state legislators did step forward in the 2010 legislative session and address the issue by passing a three-year, 1-cent sales tax, grabbing money from the highway fund, and plugging federal “stimulus” funds into school finance.

The 2010 action taken by these courageous state lawmakers avoided a financial crisis and handed Brownback $1,149 million in added sales and use tax revenues for his first three budgets. A turn in the Kansas economy that began in 2010, again not of Brownback’s doing, added another $500 million in individual income tax receipts to state coffers in the same period.

In sum, that heroic coalition of 2010 plus an economic upturn gave Brownback his $700 million in state balances plus another $1 billion he has applied to state spending.

After all that, Brownback surely fell on his knees and profusely thanked those lawmakers. To the contrary he turned on them. He joined with his stalwart ally, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, and targeted them for defeat. As a result thirteen incumbent House members in the bipartisan coalition were defeated in November of 2010.

Then, in 2012, Brownback took the unprecedented action of purging legislators of his own party. In alliance again with the Kansas Chamber and other special interest groups he campaigned against state senate leadership, and nine incumbent senators were defeated, all of whom were part of the 2010 coalition

Brownback may attempt to rewrite the recent history of state finance for his own purposes, but Kansans will not find him crowing about state budget balances going forward. His proposed budget of ill-advised tax cuts and election-year spending obliterates the $709 million in state reserves on the books as of last July. He recommends spending in excess of revenues totaling $462 million this year and next, leaving a balance of less than $250 million at the end of next year, over $200 million below that required by state statutes.

Tracy Rogers 11 months, 2 weeks ago

And Brownback absolutely refuses to talk about state balances after next year. There will be no balances. State finance will be underwater in a sea of red ink. Brownback’s radical tax policy will leave the state broke.

In the words of Paul Harvey: “And now you know the rest of the story.”

Flentje is a professor at Wichita State University.

Shawn Sullivan 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Before the Governor took office, he was presented with a projected $500 million dollar deficit for the fiscal year 2012 budget, which started July 1. The projection included the sales tax increase. It is incorrect to state that the sales tax was the reason for the turnaround.

James Howlette 11 months, 3 weeks ago

The truth is that Kansas needs to be fiscally responsible, and Brownback is the exact opposite of that. He leaves money on the table and follows terrible advice from discredited economists.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 11 months, 3 weeks ago

How has having to pay a bunch of lawyers to defend unconstitutionally questionable laws being fiscally responsible? How has giving the care to disadvantaged citizens over to for-profit companies being fiscally responsible? How has hiring people who have lied on their applications and have no experience for high paying state jobs fiscally responsible? It's not our money, but how is he and his supporter pouring money into electing "yes" men, an example of fiscal responsibility?

Amy Varoli Elliott 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Little trouble with reading comprehension today Dave?

"But a review of official numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows both sets of claims are questionable."

Dave Trabert 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Not at all. The ad made a number of claims that were not addressed. This story is focused on a partial response to multiple issues. A thorough analysis of the ad itself was not done.

James Howlette 11 months, 2 weeks ago

You've made a lot of questionable claims yourself, but I've noticed calling for "more analysis" tends to be your tactic for implying something that isn't there.

James Howlette 11 months, 2 weeks ago

The Montoy decision prior to the most recent funding case.

Dave Trabert 11 months, 2 weeks ago

What "questionable claim" do you believe I made?

James Howlette 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Now you're just playing obtuse. You had the same conversation on every single school funding thread here for years. You probably have a macro set up so you don't have to bother typing anymore.

Dave Trabert 11 months, 2 weeks ago

So you don't have anything to support your accusation...

James Howlette 11 months, 2 weeks ago

You've probably also got a macro for that response. And "ad hominem." Oh, and "Not true" whenever someone calls you a Koch employee, because technically you just work for the lobby groups that the Kochs fund, not the Kochs themselves.

If you can't even remember the multiple conversations you have with us to educate us on the Koch interpretation of the Montoy decision and how it was all about an imaginary efficiency study that you were just sure was so much better than the real study that the decision was based upon in spite of your inability to actually name any specific efficiencies that this imaginary study would find, perhaps you should try disabling the keyboard macros and ditch the formulaic responses.

But, alas, by giving you a specific example, you'll just use it to copy and paste your typical defenses and yet more links to KPI garbage, including the one authored by the crony Brownie is going to appoint.

Dave Trabert 11 months, 2 weeks ago

That is a long of saying that you cannot provide any facts to support your allegation. Got it.

James Howlette 11 months, 2 weeks ago

No. That's a long way of you trying to weasel out of it by playing obtuse when the example you requested was provided. That or a sign of memory loss. Talk to your doctor, Dave. Memory loss isn't cool.

James Howlette 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Thanks for that very special message, brought to you by Koch money, which is now very conveniently state tax free.

PS - trailing the national average is also a characteristic of the Brownback administration after that terrible tax cut.

Peter Hancock 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I beg to differ. The story describes in detail how the ad made a claim based on a NY Times editorial. I tracked down the source of that information and wrote about it. Read the story.

Dave Trabert 11 months, 3 weeks ago

C'mon Peter. The ad made at least three other claims that you did not fact check. My point is that the ad itself was not fact-checked, and it wasn't. You only looked at one piece of it.

James Howlette 11 months, 2 weeks ago

You did a fine job. I thought it was interesting to trace back the claim. He's not going to be satisfied with anything shy of a total affirmation of his cognitive biases.

Shawn Sullivan 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Peter- you wrote:

"This year, there have been more Kansans working than ever before in the history of the state," Milburn said. "Over 55,000 new private sector jobs have been created." A review of BLS numbers does show that Kansas has added 55,100 private-sector jobs since Brownback took office in January 2011. But the claim about employment being at an all-time high may be questionable, depending on which source of BLS data is being used. Milburn provided tables drawn from the bureau's unemployment statistics, which does show current employment at an all-time high. But numbers from the database on "State and Area Employment, Hours, and Earnings" tell a slightly different story."

The State and Area Employment, Hours, and Earnings or Current Employment Statistics (CES) is NOT a measure of the number of Kansans working, which is the claim that you quote from the Administration and are fact-checking. The Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) is what measures the number of Kansas working, in which Kansas surpassed its record of employment in the Summer of 2014.

Bruce Bertsch 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Poor Dave, still a slave to trickle down and the Koch's. Maybe someday he'll have an original, not paid for thought.

Phillip Chappuie 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Shawn and Dave can spin numbers and nit pick adds until the cows come home. The reality of the regular working class Kansans is tough times ahead with the current policy directions. This ultra conservative AFP purchased form of government leans heavily in the favor of corporate profit margins and not the overall good of the citizens. How could anybody brag about being a Reagan type leader when he wreck-o-nomic'ed the economy, dealt arms to a sworn enemy and lied about it and was basically a back door man with a smile at the front door? How about there are more children in poverty now than when Sam showed up. How about there are more with no health insurance. How about the state coffers going broke soon. How about a dwindling infrastructure and the highway fund being raided. How about privatizing Medicaid and farming it out to your buddies. I am afraid there may be many more tally marks in the debit column for Mr. Brownback.

Shawn Sullivan 11 months, 2 weeks ago

The information on the number of people with health insurance that came out last week didn't pass the smell test considering the significant increase in the Medicaid caseload in the last year due to the Obamacare woodwork effect. There was a negative ending balance in the state general fund the fiscal year before Brownback took office. There is around $380 million for the last fiscal year for an ending balance. There haven't been any T-Works projects not done or scrapped or that aren't in the planning process. I could write a book on the outsourcing of Medicaid to three contractors and how dozens of state staff were involved, how scoring was done, and how legitimate of a process it was.

Philipp Wannemaker 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Shawn, minor point. Kansas didn't expand Medicaid, so what is this "Obamacare woodwork effect"? Another mindless attempt to blame brownies screwups on Obama? By the way since you came from KDADS and were in charge, why is the KDAD's website still so screwed up, it's basically un-usable, but everyone is expected to use it? Guess the fine job you did there is why brownie promoted you.

Dave Trabert 11 months, 2 weeks ago

FYI, the woodwork effect refers to people who were previously eligible for Medicaid but didn't register. The ACA provides no extra funding for those people who 'come out of the woodwork' to avoid penalties due to the individual mandate. Funding for 'woodwork' enrollees is at the usual fed/state split. Obamacare only provides temporary full funding for 'new eligibles'.

James Howlette 11 months, 2 weeks ago

The ACA provided plenty of extra funding. Brownie just chose to reject it.

Dave Trabert 11 months, 2 weeks ago

There was no extra funding for the woodwork effect.

James Howlette 11 months, 2 weeks ago

How dare people who are eligible for services enroll in those services! But considering how restrictive Kansas' eligibility requirements are, I doubt it's the problem Shawn is whining about it being.

Philipp Wannemaker 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Had looked this up. Dave, with your infinite wisdom, can you explain why getting more insured thru Medicaid results in un-insured percentage rate going up? Somehow the logic escapes me, but then I don't drink tea nor work for Koch brothers.

Dave Trabert 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Aside from their being some anomaly in the Gallup survey (even the Gallup people admit the data is unusual), the only other explanation that comes to mind is that a lot more people lost their private insurance coverage (as a result of Obamacare changes) than were added to Medicaid. We asked Gallup to provide their data but they want too much money.

James Howlette 11 months, 2 weeks ago

If that were the case, they lost their coverage as a result of private insurers electing not to keep offering the coverage. Non-compliant plans had the option of a year of extension.

Richard Heckler 11 months, 3 weeks ago

If my memory serves me well Sam brought his pal Arthur Laffer to Kansas so as to lead us down the road of bankruptcy by way of Supply Side Wreckanomics which some say is being laughed out of town.

http://business.time.com/2012/08/09/arthur-laffers-anti-stimulus-curve-ball-is-a-foul/#ixzz2OG2JKGYS

James Howlette 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Man, Lawrence is some sort of special these days. We get Brownback and Koch flunkies to come argue with us. Not that there's much of a difference between the two.

Philipp Wannemaker 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Agree, not an ounce of brains and common sense between the group of them.

Jared Paslay 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Lawrence would be special if ALL the Dimwits "liberals" would move out of state.

James Howlette 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I think the Venn diagram of "dimwits" and liberals has a lot less overlap than you realize. Your post, Jared, is a case in point.

Philipp Wannemaker 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Jared, if they did the the average IQ would drop dramatically. On the plus side, for the GOP, the percentage of tea drinking, Fox news watching zombies would increase dramatically.

Mark Thompson 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Does it bother anyone else that the head of a state agency, appointed by the Governor, is spending so much time monitoring the comments on a relatively narrowly-circulated newspaper - and during office hours? How do most employers feel about their employees spending their work time perusing the internet and offering commentary? Shawn, how would you feel about your administrative staff doing that? Sorry, Shawn, but to apply your own "smell test" to your own contributions, when you offer the statement that there was only $876.05 in the state coffers at the beginning of the FY the Governor took office, you are sending a message that you are trying to mislead. Though factually correct, you ignore that another Governor was in place for 6 months while that balance increased hundreds of millions of dollars. And to deny that the sales tax was not a factor and was not computed into projections is simply laughable.

Philipp Wannemaker 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Shawn was appointed for one simple reason, he is willing to lie with a straight face for brownie. He along with Angela are frantically trying to remain employed. After brownie gets dumped in Nov, they will be desperately looking for a job. Bet the Koch brothers won't hire them.

James Howlette 11 months, 2 weeks ago

The desperation is heavy in the air. I've been in Lawrence for a lot of elections, and usually only the city candidates bother to show up in the comments.

The apparent tactic is to depress Lawrence voters into not showing up at the polls. Get angry instead. Angry voters get rid of incumbents.

Richard Heckler 11 months, 2 weeks ago

VOTING DAY PACKETS = Democracy NOW !

Voters must assume Brownback and Kobach may have purged YOU from the voting rolls. Any way possible

Okay let's plan ahead. We know that the Brownback/Kobach agenda is to keep voters from the polls.

Voters ORGANIZING A VOTING DAY PACKET might be a preventive measure:

--- a birth certificate

--- drivers license or state ID card

--- proof of voter registration etc etc etc.

--- Keep it close by as voting opportunities will occur about 4 times in the next 10 months.

Let's get on with it. Vote the Paul Davis/Jill Docking ticket they are going to have a messy house to clean up.

Kansas needs Margie Wakefield in Congress.

Richard Heckler 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Brownback/Kobach administration will never give up squashing democracy and YOUR right to vote.

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