By Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley
On January 29, 1861, Kansas became the 34th state in the union, joining as a free state. On the wall of the Capitol Visitor’s Center is a historical poster calling on people to move to Kansas for “every industrial opportunity, every agricultural opportunity, and every social and educational opportunity.” All of the opportunities that our great state promoted back then are now being jeopardized by Sam Brownback and his debilitating policies.
As we heard from his state of the state address, Gov. Brownback is still in denial about the damage his policies have caused our families and our communities. Our state is broke, and is facing a budget shortfall of nearly one billion dollars. Instead of making budget adjustments prior to the 2017 session, Brownback chose to do nothing and simply passed the buck to the Legislature. Now, he’s asking the Legislature to make budget adjustments in two weeks while he had two months.
This is not fiscal responsibility. This is poor leadership.
The only way to fully fund schools and ensure a well-educated, productive workforce is to implement sound fiscal policies. The only way to improve our highways and bridges, create thousands of new jobs, and guarantee safe travel is to balance the budget. The only way to keep rural hospitals open and maintain the best possible safety net for the people of Kansas is to reverse the Brownback income tax cuts.
None of this will come from an immediate repeal of the LLC loophole, sweeping more funds, or making more cuts.
Kansas needs fiscal policy that provides balance and stability, and prioritizes Kansas families, jobs, schools, and communities. This requires a full reconsideration of current tax and budget policies as well as recommendations from the Alvarez and Marsal efficiency study.
The damage done by the Brownback administration cannot be undone overnight. It will take years to restore Kansas. But, let it be said that the steps to restoring our state began in the 2017 session of the Kansas Legislature.