In November we will go to the polls and vote for people who will represent us in the Kansas legislature and our local government. These
people will have an actual impact on our lives. They will determine how our schools are financed, who qualifies for social services, the repair of our roads and how we are taxed to pay for it all. The candidates on the national level get most of our attention but the candidates on the state and local level will have a far greater effect on us.
The past six years has been disastrous to most of us in the State of Kansas. Our governor, with the help of a compliant legislature, began what he called an experiment by cutting and eliminating state income taxes. It would stimulate growth. A shot of adrenalin, a model for other “Red” states to follow and a roadmap to the future, he called it. Businesses and their employees would flock to our state. Spending cuts were made and some public services were privatized for efficiency with better results.
The results are in. We have had a slower growth rate than most all the other states, an out flow of migration and a treasury in worse shape each year. We’ve had to borrow from our highway fund, our children’s fund and we’ve had to delay payments to our employee’s retirement account. We’ve borrowed money by way of bond sales to fund our highway department and our employee’s retirement account. Two years ago, our sales tax was increased. Our public schools have not been fully funded, our welfare and privatized Medicaid system is woefully inadequate and we’ve had to delay repairs to our infrastructure. In spite of all these actions our budget still is not in balance, as required by our constitution and our credit rating has gone down. The tax burden has been shifted to property taxes and to sales taxes on necessities, such as groceries.
Now is the time for decisions. Will we follow Brownback’s roadmap for the next two years or will we make some changes? Regardless of party affiliation, we need to know if our elected officials will be our representatives or are they obligated to another agenda. Will they really represent us and our wishes or will they follow the dictates of their party? This is a critical election for us. Please check out the candidates and vote. Remember, if you don’t vote you can’t gripe about the outcome and someone else will have elected those who represent you.