Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): Watch Your Words, KS GOP -- looking at you, Wagle.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Watch Your Words, KS GOP -- looking at you, Wagle.

The dumb is so strong it hurts.

Somehow, in this universe – not a universe far, far away – Kansas Republicans are saying that we must stop “robbing” the Kansas Department of Transportation to balance the budget.

As it stands, KDOT has transferred about $1.39 billion from its ample coffers to the state general fund. Cue the obligatory screaming and gnashing of liberal teeth.
In an effort to save money, the state also merged KDOT with the Kansas Turnpike Authority. (Saving money! What a novel idea!)

In December, Senate President Susan Wagle, Republican,  told a Wichita gathering that she supported the merging of the two groups, but said transfers from KDOT to the general fund need to stop.

“I think all that extra money – I’m glad we merged the two facilities. It has brought economy to the system, but we can’t keep, in the future, robbing from KDOT, because we will deplete those funds,” she said.

Explaining the simplest concepts is exhausting, but apparently, someone must. So here goes:

First, it’s not “robbing” KDOT. I realize this is a really confusing and difficult thing for lawmakers, pundits, and Kansas City Star reporters to understand, but the money KDOT has in its fund – it doesn’t belong to KDOT. KDOT didn’t earn that giant pot of money through its sweat and tears and ingenuity. Every cent KDOT has was absconded from Kansas citizens via taxation and fees.  

Rightfully, that money belongs to the people of Kansas, who elect members of the legislature, who get to determine how the citizens’ money is spent.

Moving from KDOT to the general fund is essentially taking money out of the left pocket and moving it to the right.

Watch your words, GOP legislators. This KDOT “robbing” is a political wedge issue that the Democrats are going to try beat you with using the all-too-willing crayons of reporters.

It’s fine for Wagle or any other Republican to say the budget needs to be balanced, and we need a budget that works – i.e., money goes where it’s needed in the first place, rather than making a pit stop in the KDOT fund. It’s not acceptable to use words like “robbing.”

This helpful tip brought to you by Gidget. You’re welcome.


  1. I don't see your column often, Gidget but this seems right-on. In my mind, Wagle is a squishy moderate who tries to appease all but the most leftwingers in KS: the real conservatives, the moderate GOP, and the press/media elite/educrats. I don't completely trust her.

  2. I think you are missing the point that KDOT is issuing interest only bonds that the state is robbing. These aren't tax dollars and fees that they are absconding and spending, but they are running up the credit debt for the future. The regressives also removed the 18% cap so they can borrow as much from the fund as they want for the next 2 years. Essentially, we are as a state, taking out a credit card, maxing it out, and only paying interest payments on it to prop up the state finances. In 2025, the payments will balloon up to 500 million a year because they will have to start paying the principle, so they are kicking the budgetary can down the road. So yes, "Robbing" is the right term.