Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): Brownback Gives an Address; Was It a Farewell?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Brownback Gives an Address; Was It a Farewell?

If you weren't able to watch Gov. Brownback's State of the State Address, you can read the whole thing here. You can watch it here. (You'll need to fast forward to about minute 43.) It wasn't Brownback's worst address--oh, 2014 address, you still give me nightmares. 

For the first time--at least in my memory--Brownback  used his speech to talk about fiscal conservatism and the values of small government. However, Brownback can't just give a speech without the promise of additional spending. 

He proposed spending $5 million for a rural medical residency program. He proposed establishing a privately funded Doctor of Osteopathy School in Kansas, and he suggested creating a dental school. These proposals would be an attempt to fill a decades long shortage of doctors and dentists in Kansas.

I think these are decent plans, but I'm not sure they're affordable plans at this time. Also, it makes no sense to locate a dental school geographically at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas. Plant the school  as a KU Med satellite campus in rural Kansas, where the dental shortage is acute. There's a dental school right across the river from KU Med. The University of Missouri--Kansas City has a great dental school. It just doesn't make sense to locate a new one practically next door.

Honestly, the 2017 speech is kind of a microcosm of the entire challenge of the Brownback years--we've always needed to streamline government service; we've always needed to balance the budget so that it "reconciles spending with available revenue." Compare those words with previous Brownback State of the State Addresses in which he announced plans to grow government and the bureaucracy. And then consider this: Under Brownback some government processes have been streamlined. The so-called government cuts have been cuts on proposed spending increases, not actual dollars cut.

Meanwhile, we cut taxes, for which I am grateful. However, you can't cut taxes without cutting spending. THAT is what created Kansas' budget challenges in recent years. In past years, back when Sebelius just held onto your tax returns to balance the budget, the budget shortfalls were a direct result of just spending without any sense of abandon at all. 

On a side note, as a lover of words and language, I appreciated the effort of the Titanic metaphor. That's not the metaphor I would have chosen--far too many in the media have gone out of their way to liken Kansas to a sinking ship, so using that as a metaphor seemed well, not that smart. I would have used something aviation related and tied it to Wichita's aviation industry--or... something else. 

Finally, the speech reads something like a farewell address, and it's especially telling that many of the initiatives and goals set forth are absolutely in Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer's wheelhouse. (Goodbye, Kansas? Hello, Rome?)

1 comment:

  1. One of the problems with the UMKC Dental School is that students like KC so much they stay after graduation, creating a glut of dentists barley scraping by. Put the dental school in Salina under the K-State banner. ( K-State had a deal with Nebraska; KSU trained Nebraska's architects, Nebraska trained Kansas dentists.)