Daily Archives: Nov. 3, 2013

Open thread (Nov. 3)

Brownback spinning numbers on school funding

Gov. Sam Brownback wrote in a commentary (Oct. 26 Opinion) that his administration has increased state funding on education by $200 million. But that “is just one particular way of spinning the numbers,” wrote Lawrence Journal-World education reporter Peter Hancock. Of that total, nearly $143 million was increased contributions to the state’s pension plan – money that schools can’t use for operating costs. Another $29.5 million of the increase was approved by the Legislature more than six months before Brownback was elected. Hancock noted that Brownback compared fiscal year 2010, the budget year that ended six months before he came into office, with fiscal year 2015, which doesn’t begin until next July. “If we compare the budget that was in place when Brownback was sworn into office, fiscal year 2011, to the current fiscal year, total state spending has actually been cut by nearly $24 million,” Hancock wrote.

Kansans conflicted about Sebelius

When asked about Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, 63 percent of Kansans polled by SurveyUSA last week said they disapprove of the job she is doing now, while 53 percent said they approved of her performance as Kansas governor. In the poll, sponsored by KWCH, Channel 12 in Wichita, 68 percent said Sebelius is somewhat responsible for the Affordable Care Act’s website woes and 41 percent said Sebelius should resign. Curiously, only 32 percent said they voted for her for governor, though she won her first term in 2002 with 53 percent of the vote and her second term with 58 percent.

‘Topeka Nick’ upbeat about revenue drop

Kansas Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan is starting to sound like “Baghdad Bob,” the former Iraqi spokesman who boasted about how great things were, contrary to visible evidence. After Kansas corporate tax collections in September were 17 percent less than expected, Jordan said that the numbers “show that Kansas businesses are investing.” After total tax collections in October were about 4 percent less than projections, the Revenue Department press release bragged, “Kansans keep more of their money through tax relief.” So far this fiscal year, which began July 1, the state has collected $27 million less in taxes than expected and nearly $175 million less than during the same period in 2012.

So they said

“There was some good news today for embattled Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Obamacare will cover all her injuries after the White House throws her under the bus. She is totally covered.” – Jay Leno (in photo)

“Sam Brownback of Kansas: one great governor reforming government to cost less” – Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, on Twitter

“We are at the end of the food chain, and things run downhill.” – Johnson County Manager Hannes Zacharias, on how state tax cuts harm county governments