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Friday, February 14, 2014

Governor Brownback and Brownbackistan in the NY Times today


Governor Sam "Shoot 'em Up" Brownback and his version of Kansas is covered fairly thoroughly today in The New York Times today:

No law will be safe when Brownback is in office. Or at least the ones he doesn't like, anyway.

Brownback Leads Kansas in Sharp Right Turn


And what are Kansans getting for all of the Guv's sharp right turn?  Glad you asked:

Mr. Brownback, 57, has overseen the largest income tax cuts in state history, an expansion of gun rights, restrictions on abortion, sharply reduced welfare rolls, increased voter-registration scrutiny and a paring of state government bureaucracy. To accomplish his goals, he helped push the Republican-majority Legislature further to the right by working to oust moderate Republicans, deepening a longstanding rift within the state’s G.O.P...

...while income taxes have been slashed, the poorest Kansans have seen their tax burdens increase with the elimination of tax credits...

Personal income and gross state product are growing at a slower rate than the national average. And the state’s nonpartisan legislative research department has projected that the budget will face a $213.6 million shortfall in fiscal 2017, in large part because of the deep tax cuts that are expected to cost the state about $3.9 billion over the next five years.

Social service supporters say the governor has failed to help poor Kansans. Under the theory that the best form of welfare is a job, the Brownback administration has made it more difficult for poor families to get welfare — the number of people receiving it has dropped by nearly 45 percent since he took office. But there is no evidence that those people are finding work. The childhood poverty rate has gone up slightly under his watch...

Mr. Brownback also entered office with a goal to increase fourth-grade reading proficiency. Although the state has remained among the top five in the nation, the share of Kansas’ black fourth graders reading below a basic level rose to 53 percent last year from 44 percent in 2009, before the governor took office.

But at least there's some good news, too, in the article, for Kansas and Kansans:

Those who know Mr. Brownback say that his concern for the poor can be easily overlooked. A convert to Catholicism, he often opens meetings with a prayer asking for wisdom. 

Here's hoping he gets that wisdom.

And soon.

Oh, and maybe a heart, while he's at it.


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