ALEC. What is it good for?

Next week, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) will be holding its annual meeting in San Diego. ALEC is a right-wing, big business-friendly organization founded by the Koch Brothers to generate boilerplate legislation and urge its introduction into state legislatures around the country.

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Celebrate Freedom

MainStream wishes you a happy and safe Independence Day weekend.

Please commemorate our country's founding by celebrating our Freedom. Not the "freedom" proposed by the extremists here in Kansas and elsewhere, wherein they are "free" to impose their opinions on all Americans, but rather the freedom envisioned by the founders of this country, where each citizen is created equal, and endowed with the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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Kansas ROADmap may be Less Traveled for a Reason

The Kansas ROADmap may be Less Traveled for a ReasonBlog_Field1.png

MainStream Coalition 2015 Legislative Session Recap

Posted June 26, 2015

In South Carolina, Republican Gov. Nikki Haley couldn’t pass income tax cuts even after declaring, “We are not doing what Kansas did.” Salon (2015)

Kansas Legislators Approve ‘Band-Aid’ Budget with Largest Tax Increase in State History. Lawrence Journal World (2015)

Just one election cycle prior…  Governor Brownback claimed that, "Critics said we couldn't cut taxes and invest more resources in public education.” He pronounced, “We can, we did and we will as long as I am governor. Period."  (2014)

The Kansas Experiment has put sweeping policy changes in motion, policies that reflect the Christian Conservative values on which Governor Brownback ran for office and the limited-government, free market ideologists who funded the campaign (State of the State, 2015).The preliminary outcomes of this high-risk experiment are rolling out generally as predicted (KHI, 2012): substantial budget shortfalls, smaller state government and privatization of state obligations, reallocation of reduced taxpayer dollars to corporate priorities, social engineering of the religious-intolerant kind, executive overreach into judicial authority, legislative overreach into local authority, and the like. 

This ill-fated road trip can be traced to a few pivotal lane-changing bills, flooded by a downpour of boilerplate ALEC legislation, which has brought Kansas to this crossroads. Future legislative sessions and elections will serve as a more blatant test of our resolve to restore equitable and adequate opportunities for all Kansans. Will eligible voters continue to allow 333,000 businesses a free pass on their income tax while their employees shoulder the responsibility of maintaining opportunity and attempt to provide quality services like schools, roads, and public safety that make Kansas a great place to live and do business? Will voters stand up for a separation of governmental powers and a healthier division between church and state?

The tipping point is approaching a level of significance reminiscent of the national battle played out on our borders in the late 1850s. The question at hand is whether the 24% of Kansans who voted for the current agenda and the 52% who did not vote at all – will make a different choice for themselves and our state come 2016?

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The Governor Has No Clothes

This week, Governor Brownback signed the bills that will fund state government for the next year... oh, wait, that will almost fund state government. The bills he was given by the Kansas Legislature fell roughly $50 million short, so he expects to trim that as the year progresses.

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Taxes Raised on all Kansans - Legislative Update

Taxes raised on all Kansans—except 333,000 business owners—under the guise of averting a self-made financial crisis. The Kansas House, followed the Senate, and kicked the $400 million can down the road to next year – on the backs of Kansas children, working class, elderly and disabled.

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Heroes

The long fight in the House may have ended this morning at 3:30, but there are House members who can hold their heads up high today. Some are our stalwart moderates, some are steadfast conservatives who stuck to their principles. Whatever their reasons, they did not bow to the threats and pressure, and for that, we count them heroes.

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Cowards

At 3:30 in the morning today, the Kansas House of Representatives passed a tax bill. It took 23 days of extra session, almost a million dollars in overtime pay, and Governor Brownback threatening them twice. The bill, which still needs to be passed by the Kansas Senate, but looks very much like a bill they already passed once, is not good for Kansas.

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Gridlock hurts Kansas and Kansans

If you were not paying attention, you might think the Kansas Legislature had just gone home. This week’s activities involved a long working weekend (for the Senate, as the House basically told the Senate they could go first) during which they agreed on very little, but managed to hammer out a tax bill that was then stripped for procedural reasons to send it to a conference committee. Basically, they worked and made speeches and stayed up late and then decided to erase all of that. That weekend of lost work cost the taxpayers $85,000.

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This is the one you share, for Kansas

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.

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Haiku for Kansas: A Legislative Update

Deficit remains
No ownership of problem
No resolve in sight

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