Gov. Sam Brownback is not only the state’s elected leader, he’s the leader of the state’s Republican agenda.
In a speech Thursday at a Republican gathering in Leawood, he stood firm on his conservative policies, which he said would make Kansas the best place to raise a family and the best place for small business.
He seemed to leave no room for a softening of his positions during the upcoming legislative session, particularly his supply-side economic policies.
On taxes: Cutting income tax rates, from 6.45 percent to 4.6 percent for the top bracket, and eliminating income taxes for many small businesses is paying dividends, particularly in jobs numbers, Brownback said.
The state’s unemployment rate is at 4 percent, the lowest in 14 years, he said, despite slumps in several economic sectors, including oil and gas and agriculture.
“How does that happen? You grow small business,” Brownback said. “You get jobs and money moving into the state.”
On welfare and Medicaid: Welfare reform, which included work requirements and limits on eligibility time, are moving people off welfare and out of poverty, he said.
About Medicaid, known as KanCare in the state, he said, “KanCare is working, Obamacare is failing.”
Brownback has resisted calls to expand the state’s program. Medicaid expansion is part of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
On state revenue: While acknowledging that the latest state revenue receipts were disappointing — below projections for sales taxes and income taxes — Brownback said “we have to see what happens.”
“We’ll deal with it,” he said. “Our focus has been on growing the economy, not growing the government.”