Kansas: Broke as hell – and mean as hell, too

Sam Brownback

Sam Brownback

Within 90 minutes Monday morning, Kansans witnessed even more wreckage of their state by Gov. Sam Brownback’s policies.

— Shortly before noon, the Kansas House fell three votes short of overriding Brownback’s veto of Medicaid expansion.

— And just before that, state officials announced that Kansas had fallen $11.7 million short of revenue estimates in March.

Summed up: Kansas is broke as hell — and mean as hell, too.

The “winner” in all this is Brownback.

His hateful, ignorant veto of Medicaid expansion is now sustained and will prevent 150,000 or more Kansans from getting access to better medical care. His veto also will prevent the state from collecting hundreds of millions in federal tax dollars to help pay for that treatment.

The House vote was 81-44 to essentially approve Medicaid expansion, but that was short of the 84 votes needed to get to the two-thirds override.

So all those phone calls, emails and Facebook posts over the weekend made absolutely zero difference with those House members. Remember that in 2018 elections, folks.

Yes, Brownback’s veto was a big problem.

But here’s a key point: An even bigger problem was that 44 House members bought into the misleading and petty arguments Brownback and other expansion critics have made over  the years.

“It is disappointing that the Kansas House failed to override the veto because a small group of representatives chose to side with the governor instead of the 82% of Kansans who support expanding KanCare and the vast majority of their colleagues in both chambers,” said David Jordan, executive director of the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas.

As for the revenue situation, the shortfall in March means the state is close to $200 million behind balancing this fiscal year’s budget, which ends in three months.

The Kansas Legislature is still studying how to close that gap. Members are not going to make big budget reductions, so they are studying even more one-time switches, all with negative outcomes for the future.

Previous moves by state officials have drained funds from highway repairs and slashed contributions to public pension funds.

Kansas is in a world of financial hurt right now. It’s also not a very healthy place to be.

Brownback has caused these problems while proving to be inept at solving them.