In her Oct. 12 column in 913, “Good news goes unspoken in Kansas,” Danedri Herbert complained that other reporters do not recognize the good outcomes of Brownback Republican policies.
Always a master of cherry picking Herbert made her spindly case.
Herbert bragged about Kansas’ relatively high tax receipt growth over the last year of 9 percent. That revenue growth was due largely to the sales tax increase — a Brownback Republican tax increase — and not to Kansas job growth, which has been in the bottom ten.
She wants the governor to receive credit for efforts to shore up KPERS, the state employee pension fund that had fallen behind in funding over several previous administrations. I applaud his initial intention, but given the total picture I cannot give praise. In order to protect their tax cuts that were targeted to benefit the wealthy, Brownback Republicans used KPERS as a credit card.
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They took out a bond of $1 billion on the pension fund. Then they completely stiffed KPERS by not making the last quarterly KPERS payment of $95 million due in FY2016.
Yes, as Herbert said, a recent ranking listed Kansas highways as third-best in the nation, but for how long? The high ranking was the result of sufficient KDOT funding levels in years past. Last year the state cut back on the regular maintenance of highway miles from 1,200 to only 200. This year the state has put a hold on funding new highway projects.
Herbert praises the decrease of government jobs. Among those “government jobs” lost were many highway maintenance jobs.
Fewer “government jobs” means fewer teachers and bigger classrooms. It has meant the understaffing of the state mental hospital to the degree that the hospital lost certification and its federal funding.
Herbert heralded a slight decline of the Kansas poverty rate of .6 percent, and a 2.55 percent increase in median household income. But over the same time period, the U.S. poverty rate decreased by 1.2 percent, and the U.S. median household income increased by twice that much, or 5.2 percent.
Herbert closed her editorial with, “I’m not going to hold my breath that (positive Brownback administration) stories are coming, because I don’t want to die.” Wise choice. But the lack of such stories isn’t caused by an unfair media bias. The cause is the mess our state has become under the control of the Brownback Republican House and Senate.
Nancy Lusk is a Democrat who represents Kansas House District 22 in the legislature. She is running unopposed in the Nov. 8 election.