Is there EVER any research that draws the conclusion that public spending on anything has reached the pinnacle and that it's time to make cuts? Over at the Kansas Association of School Boards, a new survey suggests that Kansas does better than the national average in college and career assessments, so the obvious conclusion is that the state needs to funnel more money from your wallet into the pockets of government school administrators.
I am looking quite forward to the fight in the Kansas Legislature about spending an extra $900 million on public schools as requested by the Kansas Association of School Boards. It's going to be the biggest taxpayer shakedown in history, and many of the new folks heading to Topeka have made a whole lot of promises their bodies can't keep. It's going to be fun watching them try, though.
To date, there's a $345 million budget shortfall in Kansas. This isn't a cash shortfall; it's a projection shortfall. No one is digging in the couch cushions in Topeka looking for spare change. The Sunflower State is paying its bills.
But things will be hairy next year. Even if legislators toss out the LLC tax exemption, it won't be enough to make up the shortfall, and it will be a far cry from enough to add $900 million in new spending to public schools.
Here's where Republicans have gone a little daft: They're still out front bashing Brownback. Guys, I'll be the first to admit Brownback isn't perfect, but you will NEVER be able to outdistance yourselves from him better than Democrats can. Have the policy disagreements, but be careful in your attempts to tie an anvil around Brownback's ankle and toss him into the river. No matter how hard you run to the left, your name still has the same letter beside it. I'm not saying embrace the Governor and have photo ops, but carefully parse your language; be careful in questioning Brownback's motives; and for the love of all things, stop calling the budget the Brownback budget--um. You guys passed it.
A year from now, Brownback may no longer be Governor, and two years from now, the Democrats and their media allies will begin calling whatever budget you pass "the Republican Budget," if it's unsuccessful. If it's successful, no one in the media is going to give Republicans the credit for it. So let's play this one smart. Republicans and conservatives typically have an advantage in midterm elections, so don't squander it by being liberal-lite.