This is the blog post you share with your friends and family. Why? Because this is the post that will convince them that Kansas needs to change, and that they need to get in the game to help bring that change.
If you only read one paragraph, read this one...
The Kansas political leadership is getting ready to raise sales taxes on every Kansan, instead of rolling back the disastrous tax giveaways enacted for "job creators." Kansas revenues have plummeted because of those tax cuts, requiring slash and burn spending cuts to services and education. And instead of spurring a better economy, job growth has been crippled, lagging the region and the nation.
If they implement this new sales tax plan, they will have, in essence, mortgaged the future of Kansas for the benefit of the few, then raised taxes on all of us to pay for it.
It is unbelievable.
The background you need...
In 2012, after across-the-board belt tightening had helped Kansas through the worst of the recession, the right wing opportunists in the Governor's chair, the Kansas Legislature, and the offices of Americans for Prosperity took advantage of us.
Instead of restoring those cuts to education and services that had been accepted in good faith, they enacted the now infamous "glide path to zero" income tax cuts, promising it would be a shot of adrenaline to the Kansas economy. And in spite of the nation's years of experience with failed supply-side, trickle-down Reagonomics, we let them.
Those promises have not come true. Kansas is mired in stagnant growth, private employment is falling, revenues have not met even lowered expectations, and we lag the region and the nation in the economic recovery. Kansas was recently ranked 45th in job growth among the fifty states. (source: KC Star)
And because of these disastrous results, Kansas lawmakers have had to cut school funding, steal money from roads and pensions, and bet the future on risky bonds.
What is happening now...
For four weeks, the Kansas Legislature has had one job to do: pass a budget. We are now in overtime, and it is costing Kansas taxpayers an additional $42,700 each day they twiddle their thumbs and argue. In these four weeks, only one bill has made it to the floor of either the House or the Senate, and it was soundly defeated.
In the Kansas Senate, there have been ridiculous theatrics, scolding from the podium, and a lot of grandstanding, but no solutions. Senator Arpke (R) took a vacation cruise to Alaska. Senator Masterson (R) is in Texas on an "excused" absence, and both are drawing pay while they are missing. Senator Pyle (R) brought a garbage can full of stink bait to underline his refusal to compromise. A few right wing Senators are gleefully waving red pens and proclaiming their intent to cut even more services before allowing one cent in tax cut rollback.
And over in the House, all they have done is gavel in, announce that they will meet again tomorrow, and adjourn for the day. Just today, they finally took action, but instead of making law, they sent all bill-making authority to a conference committee, meaning the actual writing of the House budget bill would come down to a handful of legislators. Any bill that comes out of this process would not be available for debate, but just an up or down vote. So, four people making law for all of Kansas.
It is, quite frankly, ridiculous.
Why won't they do what's right?
What makes it so hard for these legislators to recognize the need to restore revenue? The Kansas political leadership is beholden to extreme organizations that would see zero taxes, privatized schools, and non existent social safety nets. Rather than roll back the ineffective income tax breaks they gave to businesses, they will push sales taxes even higher. Every Kansan pays those taxes. They will make everyone pay for these giveaways.
Why? Because the legislative leadership don't have the will to stand up for Kansas citizens.
They have shown their disregard for women, with the most extreme reproductive rights laws in the nation. They have shown their disrespect for the elderly with their petulant refusal to expand Medicaid. They have shown a vast disdain for the disadvantaged, with their ignorant cuts to welfare programs. And they have shown their hypocrisy with continued attacks on public education, teachers, and children, all while pretending to increase education funding.
They do not represent Kansas, or Kansans. There is a battle right now in the Kansas Legislature for representative democracy. Why can't they pass anything? Because some legislators are bucking the leadership, arguing that their constituents are not being represented by the leadership and their backroom deals and conference committee power trips.
But if the Legislature can't get anything done, who can? Who has the power to make a change?
You. And your friends. And your family.
Stand up for Kansas. Stand up for yourself. Speak out.