In his Jan. 20, letter in the Great Bend Tribune, Sen. Mitch Holmes decried a KNEA newsletter for misleading the public. He claimed it said he advocated for a school board conflict of interest bill. Sen. Holmes stated it was false and misleading to say he advocated for this bill or was hostile towards school boards.
Sen. Holmes may have no hostility towards our school boards but his record shows that he consistently votes against our wishes.
16 of the 22 school boards in Senate District 33 passed a resolution against moving local elections to the fall. But this was proposed and favored by those in political control of the state and Sen. Holmes voted accordingly.
The full proposal included making local elections partisan and requiring a straight-ticket ballot. The generation of our grandparents did away with these types of rules because they help a political machine work against electing individuals that could do the best job in local offices if they did not comply with the larger agenda of political bosses.
According to the Docking Institute of Public Affairs April 2015 survey, 83% of Kansans do not support reducing public education funding. But the new block funding law froze funds. With an increasing student population this reduced the dollars per student. With the inflation of expenses, this reduced what each dollar provides. With a growing state economy this reduced the proportion of our wealth that we contribute to public education. But this was proposed and favored by those in political control of the state and Sen. Holmes voted accordingly.
66% of Kansans think that taxes on top income earners should increase. But the tax changes of the past five years have done the opposite. Kansas has the ninth most regressive tax laws in the nation. For those of us in the lowest 20% of income range, it takes 11.1% of our income to pay sales, income and property taxes. For those of us in the middle 20% range, it takes 8.9%. For those of us in the top 5% range, it takes less than 6%. But this was proposed and favored by those in political control of the state and Sen. Holmes voted accordingly.
After the initial income tax cuts were passed in 2012, Sen. Holmes said only minor tweaking would be required. Since then laws have been passed that reneged on a promised reduction in sales taxes, increased state severance taxes, increased sales taxes as part of the largest tax increase in state history, diverted $1.6 billion of highway funds to pay for the income tax cuts, imposed $1.0 billion of bond debt on our children to fund KPERS obligations and issued $400 million of highway bond debt that makes more highway funds available to pay for the income tax cuts. But this was proposed and favored by those in political control of the state and Sen. Holmes voted accordingly.
We should not be misled about what four more years with Mitch Holmes in the Senate would bring. The primary election is Aug. 2.