State Sen. Forrest Knox of Altoona is one of the ultra-conservative Republicans who thinks the sun is shining brightly in Gov. Sam Brownback’s Kansas.
For instance, here’s what he wrote early Monday morning as the Senate passed controversial budget cuts: “The straight facts are these.... Kansas state revenue is up 2.7 percent over a year ago. Revenue year to date (10 months) is $124 million ahead of last year.”
Whoah. Wait a minute.
How was Knox able to include a table with all of the Kansas revenue figures through April 30 in his 3:15 a.m. Monday missive to voters — a full 12 hours before the Kansas Department of Revenue released the data to the public and the press?
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
That’s a crucial question, given what happened late Sunday and early Monday. Lawmakers were debating whether and how to cut millions of dollars from the budget because revenues have been weaker than once expected this fiscal year, mostly because of Brownback’s disastrous 2012 income tax cuts.
How did Knox have data that many other state Republican lawmakers from the Kansas City area and around Kansas told me Monday that they didn’t have?
So I tried to find out the answer to the question.
Here’s what Knox told me late Monday afternoon in an interview, after the revenue department released the official numbers that were right in line with what he had released 12 hours earlier.
Several days ago, Knox said, he had asked a few “financial senators” for the information, to find out if Kansas would be reporting good April revenue numbers on Monday. But he was told that the Senate could not get the revenue figures in advance from the department.
“I just knew he had the numbers,” Knox said of one fellow Republican senator, whom he declined to name.
Knox got a chart, which turned out to be accurate, in an email, he said.
When I pressed Knox for the source of his information, he gave a little laugh and said:
“I guess I wasn’t supposed to share” it as soon as he did — before the Brownback administration released data to the public after 3 p.m. Monday.
Speaking of Nick Jordan, the leader of the revenue department, his office emailed me a statement Monday afternoon when I asked how Knox had had the information before it was supposed to be out.
“I just spoke with the secretary. To our knowledge the information did not come from our office,” wrote Jeannine Koranda, director of communications.
However, given the exact nature of the numbers, it sure looks to the public that someone in the revenue agency supplied the data to the GOP lawmakers.
As usual, Twitter supplied the most interesting tidbit: Some senators knew about the revenue figures in advance and were talking about them in a men’s bathroom at the Capitol during the budget debate.
That brought a few responses from women who also serve in the Capitol.
And then this:
And the final (good?) point: