Daily Archives: June 1, 2014

Open thread (June 1)

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Kansas ‘renaissance’ looks more like dark ages

brownbackcampaignOne day before the state reported that its tax collections for May were a stunning $217 million less than expected, Gov. Sam Brownback had a commentary in the Wall Street Journal headlined, “A Midwest Renaissance Rooted in the Reagan Formula.” Brownback summarized the state’s income tax cuts on his watch and touted the business formations, unemployment rate and private-sector job growth, also giving a nod to neighboring states’ recent tax cuts. “Kansas and its neighbors in Missouri and Oklahoma are charting a course based on a vision of lower taxes and leaner governments leading to a more prosperous citizenry,” he wrote. On Thursday the governor delivered a similar message at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. Asked by the Hill about the decision of Moody’s Investors Service to downgrade the state’s credit rating over fiscal concerns in the state, Brownback said: “They’ve been downgrading a lot of states.” Actually, Moody’s has downgraded only three states in the past year: Illinois in June 2013, Kansas in April and New Jersey last month.

Lobbyist spending up 25 percent this past session

capitolSpending on official lobbying in Kansas topped $1 million during January through April, according to a new report by the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission. That’s 25 percent more than was spent during the 2013 legislative session. Americans for Prosperity was by far the biggest spender at $386,853 (mostly on advertising opposing the state’s renewable energy standards). The next two highest spenders were Wind Works for Kansas (supporting the energy standards) at $43,686 and the Kansas Senior Consumer Alliance (opposing the standards) at $40,470. Other groups that topped $10,000 in spending included Dillons ($23,125), the Kansas Bankers Association ($20,974), Uncork Kansas ($20,414), the Kansas Beer Wholesalers Association ($19,696), the Wind Coalition ($15,623), the Kansas State Council of Firefighters ($10,534) and the Kansas Credit Union Association ($10,026).