Kansas at a Crossroads

We told you it would be all about the budget now, and so it has... not been? What has happened since the Kansas Legislature reconvened on Wednesday appears to be a lot of backroom deals and head scratching. As soon as one idea is floated (close loopholes in the tax law for small businesses) we hear that this is a "non-starter" (lobbying groups start massive robo-call campaign to "save" small businesses).

It looks an awful lot like the Governor (who proposed "fixes" that did not actually close the budget gap) and his allies (who have proposed what amounts to digging around between the couch cushions to cobble together the difference) have no real idea how to do this.

Add to that yesterday's news that Kansas once again fell short of estimated revenues, this time by $4.4 million for the month of April after just revising estimates downward! How many times now has the State managed to incorrectly predict revenue? It is beginning to look like "Sunny in Kansas" is just a set of rose-colored glasses.

As if those poor lawmakers didn't have enough trouble on their hands, the KS Supreme Court has decided to leave the fate of school finance in the hands of the original 3-judge panel that decided the original case against the State. The panel has been given "jurisdiction to resolve all pending post-trial matters," which means they can render a decision on the original suit, on the funding formula, on the block grants, on the equity issue, pretty much everything. Fasten your seatbelts for May 7, when the panel holds its first hearing.

Less money than even their own forecasts, education financing like a boulder hanging over their heads, so much spin from the Governor's office that all their credibility is in tatters... what will become of the Kansas budget? What will become of Kansas?

Here is the opening of an article in the LA Times about Kansas' now signed welfare changes.

"Like a brained and wounded animal in the wild, the government of Kansas has been lashing out in all directions at its supposed tormentors. Since its problems are exclusively those of its own making, the spectacle is all the more horrific."

This is true of all aspects of Kansas government under Governor Brownback and his allies. Everywhere they turn, signs point to their plans failing. The economy, health care, small government, even the people of Kansas when polled disagree with where we are headed. 400,000 Kansans actively voted against these plans, 1.2 million Kansans who are registered to vote did not cast a ballot in Brownback's favor. With the exception of a few dedicated lawmakers we count as friends, the rest, the extremists, clearly aren't listening to us. To you. To Kansas.

There is a small part of us that is gleefully watching as their plans begin to crumble and the harsh realities of their ideology get tangled in the ruins. But the largest part of us cries out for Kansas itself. We cannot sit back and watch the state burn.

This is when we all need to speak out.

Kansas is at a crossroads. We need to stand up and speak out before it gets too far down the wrong path. But this isn't just about talking to your government. They clearly aren't listening. We need you to talk to your family, your co-workers, your Facebook friends, your audiences and communities. Put yourself out on a limb for what you believe in. We will be there with you.

Do more than just vote.

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