Daily Archives: April 9, 2013

Brownback address painted unrecognizable picture of Kansas

Gov. Sam Brownback’s Republican weekly address on Saturday painted an unrecognizable picture of the state after two years of his leadership. He bragged about how Kansas had turned around its finances without tax increases or cuts to education or other programs. But as our Tuesday editorial notes, he left out how the state budget benefited from the 1 percent sales-tax increase passed in 2010 – or how he now wants to make that temporary tax increase permanent. Or how districts, including Wichita, have been forced to close schools and cut programs because of state reductions in base per-pupil funding and capital outlay equalization dollars. Or how his 2012 tax cuts have created large budget shortfalls. It’s hard for those who know the whole story not to hear such an address and wonder which Kansas Brownback is talking about – the one he’s actually governing or one made of political spin and presidential ambitions.

Happy Tax Freedom Day

The tax-filing deadline is still a week away, but today marks “Tax Freedom Day” in Kansas, according to the Tax Foundation, based in Washington, D.C. Tax Freedom Day is when the average citizen will have earned enough money to pay this year’s tax obligations at the federal, state and local levels. Kansans actually fared better than average Americans, whose Tax Freedom Day isn’t until April 18. “This year, Americans will pay $2.764 trillion in federal taxes and $1.459 trillion in state-local taxes out of $14.366 trillion in income, for a 29.4 percent tax bill,” said Tax Foundation economist Will McBride. “That means taxpayers will pay more in taxes in 2013 than they will spend on food, clothing and housing combined.”

Brownback fails his own ‘democracy test’

Gov. Sam Brownback at least brought some badly needed gender diversity to the all-male Sedgwick County District Court Monday by choosing Wichita attorney Faith Maughan to fill the spot left empty by the governor’s appointment of Tony Powell to the Kansas Court of Appeals. Maughan has a good resume, including work with the U.S. Army Reserve Judge Advocate General’s Corps and as a municipal prosecutor and judge. Unfortunately, Brownback shunned the traditional input of the Wichita Bar Association and declined to even release a short list of finalists – odd for a governor who has decried the secrecy of the state’s merit-selection process for appellate judges. And Brownback, who also has spoken of judicial selection needing to pass the “democracy test,” has someone in Maughan who lost the GOP primary for a judgeship by 9 percentage points last August. Plus, her sharply partisan campaign cast doubt on her ability to be fair and impartial, especially should a case relating to abortion come to her courtroom.