What horribly perfect timing. On Wednesday, Kansas officials postponed 10 more road improvement projects because of the state’s dire financial situation — the same day Gov. Sam Brownback gave another of his it-ain’t-my-fault interviews to the media.
Let’s look at the latest delusions delivered by Brownback. And folks, as long as he’s going to keep up this behavior, he deserves the public derision.
— “Well, I want to put more money into education, highways, KPERS (pension system).”
Brownback’s desperate budget-balancing plans have “included diverting almost $1.3 billion in highway funds to other uses” as well as a delay to “a $92.6 million payment into the pension fund” with promises of repayment by mid-2018. Good luck on that pledge, by the way.
— On comparing his vision for education to that of the medical system: “The people want the system not to just pay for procedures. They want outcomes. I don’t want to pay for 10 of this type of procedure and 20 of that. I want to see that this person is doing better. That’s what I want. Well, that’s what I want us to do in education. I want to see that this student is doing better. And I want to pay for outcomes.”
This statement is mostly nice-sounding gibberish; of course everyone wants kids learning and wants to pay teachers and administrators to deliver positive outcomes.
But Brownback almost two years ago scrapped the decades-long school funding formula, replaced it with a block-grant formula that financially damaged some districts and has been unable to come up with a coherent, long-term plan to “fix” school funding.
— “I guess Missouri doesn’t even do a monthly (revenue estimate), because I never see their numbers coming out on a monthly basis … and every month it’s a huge headline in The Kansas City Star about it’s off this much. Well, that has impact on people.”
Reporting on the state’s dire financial predicament is not the concern.
The fact that Brownback’s reckless income tax cuts have led to reductions in funding for crucial state services such as K-12 and higher education, social services and roads — that has had an “impact” on Kansans.
— On fellow Republican and Senate President Susan Wagle’s worry that Brownback is not showing leadership on the state’s budget woes because of interest in a Trump administration job: “I think it would be more useful if she’d put forward proposals on how to deal with the budget instead of just calling names. We’ve got budget issues to wrestle with. Let’s start.”
Brownback has steadfastly refused to provide his own ideas, saying they will come next month, even as the state faces a nearly $350 million budget imbalance this fiscal year.
— On his reluctance to follow many other GOP and Democratic lawmakers’ suggestion to kill a tax exemption for owners of 330,000 LLCs which is costing the state around $250 million a year in revenue: “I would hate to have us go back in a field that’s taking off nationally on small-business growth. We pioneered this field.”
But Kansas has zilch to show for this and other inane income tax cuts.
The state’s job growth — the one metric Brownback promised in pushing through the 2012 income tax cuts — has been absolutely abysmal. Over the last two-and-a-half years, the Sunflower State has gained 0.3 percent in employment. The national average has been a gain of 4.2 percent.
— On whether he has regrets on his tenure as governor and what he sees as his important goal of building relationships: “You want to be able to say hi, have a conversation and feel as if you were a positive contributor to their soul.”
Fiddling while Kansas burns. That’s Gov. Sam Brownback.