Guitarzan (Darrell Lea)


Comment history

Saturday Column: Brownback strengths include agriculture, education

(part two of two)

And lest we forget, there is the “shot of adrenaline” lie. That’s the effect that slashing income taxes for upper-income Kansans and certain types of businesses was supposed to have on the state’s economy.

There was no good science to back up that claim, just some discredited charts and graphs from huckster economist Arthur Laffer. And more than two years later, government data shows Kansas still lags behind most other states in the nation and region in job growth.

Still, the mythmaker forges on. Brownback says he thinks the state can create 100,000 new jobs over the next four years. Really? Kansas this year is averaging 1,000 new private sector jobs a month. Job creation would have to more than double to get close to the governor’s prediction.

Brownback’s desperate form of dishonesty has permeated his administration. In a move that was certainly improper and may have violated a prohibition on political activity while on the job, Nick Jordan, his revenue director, sent an opinion piece to his department’s employees recently, rehashing cherrypicked economic data in a clumsy attempt to convince staffers that the promised renaissance has begun.

Shawn Sullivan, Brownback’s latest budget director, tells followers on Twitter that everything is fine, no reason to worry. But unless revenues rebound, Kansas is looking at a $260 million budget imbalance, with more tax cuts set to kick in. It’s alarming to see a budget director divorce himself from reality.

And the governor himself? “The sun is shining in Kansas,” Brownback says in his campaign materials.

The sun is shining on a budget in crisis, fair-to-middling job growth, credit downgrades and fears of what the future might bring. There’s nothing like a bright light to expose the lies.

October 18, 2014 at 10:12 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Saturday Column: Brownback strengths include agriculture, education

(article text follows - part one of two)

All politicians spin. They exaggerate and make selective use of facts and data. These are tricks of the trade.

But I have never seen a public official lie as easily and as relentlessly as Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.

That sounds harsh, and it is possible that Brownback actually believes his own mythology. But much of what he has told the citizens of Kansas is flat out wrong.

Brownback has lied about the fiscal conditions he inherited. He spins a fantasy about a low-tax utopia even as his state is exhausting its budget reserves, staring at more cuts in education, and not experiencing the promised economic rebound. He has salted his administration with sycophants who tell lies of their own.

Where to begin?

There’s the $876-in-the-bank lie, which Brownback has repeated in three state-of-the-state addresses, on national broadcasts, in multiple interviews and as recently as a September campaign debate. That’s the one where he inherited a measly $876 in the treasury and through his amazing governance converted it into a $500 million surplus in two years.

Complete hokum. Money was flowing into the state treasury when Brownback took office in January 2011 because his predecessor, Democrat Mark Parkinson, signed into law a one-cent sales tax increase to rescue Kansas from the devastating effects of the 2008 recession. The state had $251 million in its bank account when Brownback was sworn in, and the revenue flow was strong until his income tax cuts kicked in.

There was the “I shrunk government spending by $2 billion” lie, which Brownback enshrined into a power point presentation. The claim was debunked, and blamed on a spread sheet error by a former budget director. It is one of the few false boasts the administration owned up to and apologized for.

There’s the “record school funding” lie, which has become a bogus campaign theme.

Brownback says he has put “a record amount of money into education.” But his numbers are inflated by increases to teacher pension funds and capital projects. The money school districts use to pay employees, purchase supplies and meet other day-to-day expenses is $548 less on a per-student basis than it was six years ago.

Brownback is not a friend of public education. He has railed against judges who ordered the state to finance schools more adequately. He crafted outlandish tax cuts instead of making up the shortfall in school funding left by the recession. His allies at the Kansas Policy Institute have proposed even more cuts to schools and colleges as a way to balance the budget in upcoming years.

October 18, 2014 at 10:11 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Saturday Column: Kansas voters must consider candidates’ Obama ties

Thanks for the silly headline, Dolph. That way I don't have to read your piece to know what you're going on about.

Any candidate who has the cojones to hitch his wagon to President Obama's in this delusional, media circus world people like you have helped create is alright with me and will get my vote. The only thing to fear is fear itself, and maybe right wing fear mongering.

October 13, 2014 at 8:59 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Analysis: Gay marriage clouds Kansas governor race

"We have a Constitution and Bill of Rights precisely because we want protections from majority rule. When the majority in a legislature or a popular vote take away rights of individuals that are protected by the Bill of Rights, then we have an independent judiciary to rectify that situation. It's happened again, and again, and again throughout this country's history. We have an independent judiciary to protect the rights of individuals like gay and lesbian citizens who only want respect, decency, and equality along with the rest of us."

October 13, 2014 at 4:13 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Brownback: Kansas should defend gay marriage ban

In other words, the governor wants to spend money he doesn't have to fight a battle he can't win, all in an attempt to codify the right of the electorate to deprive a minority group of equal rights and due process under the law. Such an embarrassment.

October 7, 2014 at 5:18 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Rulings give Kansas couples hope for same-sex marriages

I enjoy how demagogues like Brownback and Mary Fallin use the same dog whistle phrases to complain about a decision they don't like. At what point did inaction become synonymous with activism? These folks are living in Bizarro world.

October 6, 2014 at 6:27 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Judges weigh ballot lawsuit after plaintiff fails to show; Kobach not allowed to intervene

Since this case seems to hinge on the definition of the word "shall," perhaps one could pick up a dictionary and read it. Shall we?

(modal verb)

1 (in the first person) expressing the future tense: "this time next week I shall be in Scotland."

2 expressing a strong assertion or intention: "they shall succeed | you shall not frighten me out of this."

3 expressing an instruction or command: "you shall not steal."

4 used in questions indicating offers or suggestions: "shall I send you the book? | shall we go?"

ORIGIN Old English sceal, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zal and German soll, from a base meaning ‘owe.’

usage: There is considerable confusion about when to use shall and will. The traditional rule in standard English is that shall is used with first person pronouns ( I and we) to form the future tense, while will is used with second and third persons ( you, he, she, it, they): I shall be late; she will not be there. To express a strong determination to do something, these positions are reversed, with will being used with the first person and shall with the second and third persons: I will not tolerate this; you shall go to school. In practice, however, shall and will are today used more or less interchangeably in statements (although not in questions). Given that the forms are frequently contracted ( we'll, she'll, etc.), there is often no need to make a choice between shall and will, another factor no doubt instrumental in weakening the distinction. In modern English, the interchangeable use of shall and will is an acceptable part of standard US and British English.

September 29, 2014 at 7:06 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Strip-club raid shadows Kansas governor's race


September 28, 2014 at 1:35 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

New spa opens near Ninth and Iowa; company with local ties vying to make 1 billion coffee cups for Dunkin' Donuts

Chad, you need to correct paragraph one of this piece. Central Michigan University is not the University of Michigan.

September 22, 2014 at 4:49 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Marijuana crimes

"Irregardless" is not really a word. Here is what my dictionary says about it:

usage: Irregardless is widely heard, perhaps arising under the influence of such perfectly correct forms as irrespective, but should be avoided by careful users of English. Use regardless to mean ‘without regard or consideration for’ or ‘nevertheless’.

September 21, 2014 at 7:32 a.m. ( | suggest removal )