Daily Archives: April 1, 2014

Legislature not helping attract more people to Kansas

capitoldomeThough Kansas needs to improve its economy in order to attract more citizens, it also needs to be a more welcoming state, wrote Chase M. Billingham, an assistant professor of sociology at Wichita State University. And the Legislature isn’t helping. “Legislative efforts to legitimate discrimination against lesbian and gay couples, to limit the voting power of racial and ethnic minorities, and to resist the full and equitable funding of the state’s public school districts send a message to Americans that Kansas is not a desirable destination,” Billingham wrote. “This public perception is likely to manifest itself in persistently depressed net domestic migration numbers for years to come.”

Open thread (April 1)

aprilfool

Kansas’ economy, employment lagging region

kansasgreetingsAnother report shows the Kansas economy is lagging, and this one can’t be dismissed by Gov. Sam Brownback’s supporters. That’s because it is from the governor’s own Council of Economic Advisors and is based on benchmarks established specifically to measure economic trends. The March 2014 report shows that in the past year Kansas grew less than regional states in population, gross state product, personal income, employment, private-industry wage level, private-business establishment and several other measurements. For example, Kansas’ private-sector employment growth rate was 0.9 percent compared with 1.5 percent for the six-state region (and 2.1 percent for the nation). Also, private-industry wage levels went down slightly in Kansas but up slightly in the region and nation. The only measure in which Kansas did better than the regional average last year was in the growth of building permits. In establishing the benchmarks two years ago, Brownback said they would enable the state “to monitor in a timely manner if our policies and initiatives are having the desired economic effect.” So far, the answer is “no.”

Obama wants to give America a raise

obamalibyaPresident Obama had a commentary in The Eagle Sunday arguing in favor of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. “Its effect would raise wages not just for minimum-wage workers, but for nearly 314,700 people in Kansas and 28 million Americans across our country,” Obama wrote. “It would lift millions out of poverty immediately, and help millions more work their way out of poverty, without requiring any new taxes or spending. It will give businesses more customers with more money to spend. It will grow the economy for everyone. That’s why nearly 3 in 4 Americans support raising the minimum wage.”